Science News, Spot News, or Both? Managing and Covering Science Protests ScienceWriters 2011 Andy Dworkin
SHEEP STUDY TIES SEXUAL PREFERENCE TO BRAIN Oregonian, The (Portland, OR) - Tuesday, November 5, 2002 Oregon scientists studying male sheep have discovered that the ramssexual preference is associated with a structural difference in part of theirbrain. The researchers measured a small bundle of nerves in a region of thebrain linked to sexuality. They report that rams who mate with females havenerve bundles much larger than rams who prefer male partners. Male-orientedrams had nerve bundles roughly the same size as ewes. That finding, presented Monday at the Society for Neurosciences annualmeeting in Florida, is the first to show a naturally occurring correlation betweensexual preference and a brain structure in research animals, said CharlesRoselli, a professor of physiology and pharmacology at Oregon Health & ScienceUniversity who worked on the study. Edition: SUNRISE Section: LOCAL STORIES Page: B01
STUDIES OF RAMS’ ORIENTATIONS ASSIST RANCHERS Oregonian, The (Portland, OR) - Saturday, March 19, 2005 Yes, there really are homosexual male sheep, and, yes, Oregonresearchers study them. Last weeks arrest of an Oregon State University football player forstealing a ram involved in a sexual-orientation study brought the universityan athletic scandal, a bevy of jokes and many questions about why theyhave such sheep to start with. As many ranchers know, roughly 5 percent to 8 percent of rams try tomate with other rams instead of with ewes. For at least a decade, OregonState and Oregon Health & Science University have studied suchsheep, looking for biological links to that behavior… Edition: SUNRISE Section: SPORTS Page: C03
OSU, OHSU study of male-oriented rams gains high-profile foe Oregonian, The (Portland, OR) - Saturday, November 4, 2006 The tale of Oregons gay sheep experiment just grew stranger. On Thursday, tennis great Martina Navratilova sent letters asking thepresidents of OSU and OHSU to end what she calls "homophobic and cruelexperiments." "Many gays and lesbians," she wrote, "stand to be deeply offendedby the social implications of these tests." For years, researchers at Oregon State University and Oregon Health& Science University searched in relative obscurity for biologicaldifferences that might distinguish rams who mount ewes from rams whomount rams… Edition: Sunrise Section: Local News Page: D01
SCIENCE TOLD: HANDS OFF GAY SHEEP Sunday Times [United Kingdom], Britain News by Isabel Oakeshott and Chris Gourlay, 31/12/2006 Experiments that claim to ‘cure’ homosexual rams spark anger SCIENTISTS are conducting experiments to change the sexuality of“gay” sheep in a programme that critics fear could pave the way forbreeding out homosexuality in humans. The technique being developed by American researchers adjusts thehormonal balance in the brains of homosexual rams so that they are moreinclined to mate with ewes. It raises the prospect that pregnant women could one day be offereda treatment to reduce or eliminate the chance that their offspring will behomosexual. Experts say that, in theory, the “straightening” procedure onhumans could be as simple as a hormone supplement for mothers-to-be, worn on the skin like an anti-smoking nicotine patch. The research, at Oregon State University in the city of Corvallis andat the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, has caused anoutcry. Martina Navratilova, the lesbian tennis player who wonWimbledon nine times, and scientists and gay rights campaigners inBritain have called for the project to be abandoned....
Of Gay Sheep, Modern Science And the Perils of Bad Publicity New York Times, The (NY) - Thursday, January 25, 2007 Author: JOHN SCHWARTZ Charles Roselli set out to discover what makes some sheep gay. Then the news mediaand the blogosphere got hold of the story. Dr. Roselli, a researcher at the Oregon Health and Science University, has searched forthe past five years for physiological factors that might explain why about 8 percent of ramsseek sex exclusively with other rams instead of ewes. The goal, he says, is to understand thefundamental mechanisms of sexual orientation in sheep. Other researchers might some daybuild on his findings to seek ways to determine which rams are likeliest to breed, he said. But since last fall, when People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals started acampaign against the research, it has drawn a torrent of outrage from animal rights activists,gay advocates and ordinary citizens around the world -- all of it based, Dr. Roselli andcolleagues say, on a bizarre misinterpretation of what the work is about. The story of the gay sheep became a textbook example of the distortion andvituperation that can result when science meets the global news cycle. The news media storm reached its zenith last month, when The Sunday Times inLondon published an article under the headline "Science Told: Hands Off Gay Sheep."
Sheep study touches off backlash Oregonian, The (Portland, OR) - Friday, February 2, 2007 You may think Oregon scientists working in obscurity would like having theirresearch discussed in The London Times, The New York Times and hundreds of papersand blogs worldwide. Not when youre being called a homophobe and compared to Nazis. Two men studying sheep sexuality say theyve been blindsided by a recent floodof error-filled news stories and hostile Internet communications about their work.Many reports falsely say that they aim to prevent homosexuality in people. A London Sunday Times story (since retracted) even said pregnant women mightone day wear hormone patches to prevent gay infants - an idea Oregon State Universityresearcher Fred Stormshak called, "The most ludicrous thing Ive heard of." Stormshak and lead researcher Charles Roselli, of Oregon Health & ScienceUniversity, say they simply want to learn more about the basic biology of how sexualityis processed in the brain. But reasonable debates about the importance and ethics ofsuch basic science seem to be drowning in waves of accusations of evil motives andsexual eugenics. "Weve been maligned through the news media worldwide as a consequence ofpeople not taking the time to get the facts straight," said Stormshak. "It weighs heavilyon you. You dont like to be in a situation where youre at the forefront of something forall the wrong reasons.”…
Sheep study touches off backlash Oregonian, The (Portland, OR) - Friday, February 2, 2007 …Soon PETA began criticizing the study on its Web site. It encouraged peopleto e-mail OHSU by saying the researchers "are killing homosexual sheep andcutting open their brains" (true) and that " Roselli plans to cure humans of theirhomosexual tendencies next" (false). More than 20,000 e-mails poured into OHSU, many hitting President Dr. JoeRobertson Jr., in his first week in office. Some were hostile: "You are a worthlessanimal killer and you should be shot," read one…. …"I cant stress this point enough: Basic research like ours is not aboutapplications. It is about discovery and building a foundation of knowledge fromwhich to learn more about the way the body and brain work," Roselli said. "The so-called debate about applications was invented by PETA with the express intentionof scaring people in the gay and lesbian community and causing our research tocome under unwarranted scrutiny." Edition: Sunrise Section: Local News Page: A01