Male Homosexuality Linked

To Mother's Genetic Factors

A study indicates that genetic factors inherited from the mother, along with cultural and early experiences, influence male homosexuality, Italian scientists said yesterday.

Researchers at the University of Padua said the genetic components are linked to the X chromosome, inherited from the mother. More than a decade ago, U.S. scientists reported that they had found evidence of a "gay gene" in men. Other researchers questioned the finding when they could not duplicate the results.

Andrea Camperio-Ciani, who headed the team, said several genes could be involved, including some on the X chromosome. The research was reported in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.

The results are based on a study of 98 homosexual and 100 heterosexual men and about 4,600 of their relatives.

International Group Votes

To Protect Great White Shark

An international coalition voted yesterday to protect the great white shark through trade regulations that will require permits to traffic in the feared predator.

The plan garnered support from 72 percent of the 166 nations that participate in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. That includes members such as Japan, Norway and Iceland, which have been reluctant to regulate trade in marine species, said Ocean Conservancy sea turtle scientist Marydele Donnelly.

Ginette Hemley, vice president for species conservation at the World Wildlife Fund, said: "Despite their fierce reputation, great white sharks are naturally rare and vulnerable to overexploitation. Populations of great whites are in decline around the world because of unregulated fishing and high demand for curios like shark teeth and jaws . . ."

The convention, which is meeting in Bangkok this year, administers the global treaty that controls trade in endangered plants and animals.

Weight-Loss Surgery Found

Effective Among Very Obese

A review of weight- loss surgeries on more than 22,000 extremely obese patients found the procedures helped many lose more than 100 pounds and combat related health problems, researchers said.

The study, from the University of Minnesota and reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that on average, patients lost more than 61 percent of their excess weight. Diabetes was resolved in 76 percent of the patients; high blood cholesterol was resolved or improved in 86 percent; high blood pressure was corrected in 61 percent; and obstructive sleep apnea was resolved or improved in 83 percent.

More than 100,000 procedures were performed last year in the United States. The report was sponsored by Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

The American Society for Bariatric Surgery recommends the procedure only for extremely overweight people and warns that there can be both short- and long-term complications. It says the death rate immediately after surgery is low but can rise to as high as 10 percent in later months.

-- From staff writer Juliet Eilperin and news reports