Recently, Bob Frey, a Republican candidate for the Minnesota House of Representatives outlined what may just be the greatest scientific theory of all time. Frey outlined his position to the MinnPost in a recent article. From the piece:
“When you have egg and sperm that meet in conception, there’s an enzyme in the front that burns through the egg. The enzyme burns through so the DNA can enter the egg. If the sperm is deposited anally, it’s the enzyme that causes the immune system to fail. That’s why the term is AIDS – acquired immunodeficiency syndrome”
And Science trembles.
The Nobel Prize Committee is rumored to be in meetings to award Mr. Frey the prize in medicine. The National Academy of Science is whispering to itself that it should dissolve and place Mr. Frey at the helm of science. Clearly this is the making of something big.
In order to understand that impact of Mr. Frey’s revelation on the modern biological paradigm we need to understand the state of the field in the Pre-Frey Epoch. After ejaculation the spermatozoa undergo a process known as “capacitation” which is required to push the little swimmers into their penultimate developmental stage. The uterine environment triggers sperm capacitation by secreting proteolytic and glycosidic enzymes, lipoproteins and serol-binding albumin to allow the sperm to “arm” itself. The head of the sperm, the acrosome, destabilizes, making it more permeable and more sensitive to signals that promote sperm swimming. Essentially this means that the uterus gives the sperm all the resources it needs to fertilize.
Once capacitation occurs the sperm follows the temperature gradient between the oviduct and the ampulla of the fallopian tubes. Sperm also “smells” out progesterone chemical signals secreted by the protective cumulus cells surrounding the egg. The sperm, following these temperature and chemical trails, meets the egg in the ampulla and begins the process of penetration. The acrosomal head of the sperm binds and reacts to the thick, jelly-like outer layer of the egg known as the zona pellucida. Receptor –ligand interactions between the bound sperm and egg permit binding and activate the penetrative mechanism. The acrosome releases an enzyme known as hyaluronidase which digests the hyaluronic acid of the zona pellucida. During this process the sperm extends its cytoskeleton toward the egg, pushing the membranes of the sperm and egg close together. The process of dissolving the jelly-layer also allows the sperm and egg to signal each other, permitting the membranes to fuse. The sperm’s nucleus, among other organelles, are injected into the egg, completing the process.
So what does that mean for Frey? Well now that we all know that sperm are just as active in the anus as they are in the uterus this means that all our anuses are actually uteruses. It would also indicate that the uterine tissues of the anus are entirely composed of eggs, permitting the sperm to bind and fertilize. What is unclear is whether or not the sperm are hyperactive in the anus, drilling through the intestine instead of fusing to the uterine-anal-oocyte-epithelia that make up the intestine. Further research needs to be conducted to see if anal pregnancy is possible. Furthermore the seeming necessity of the HIV virus in developing AIDS has been overturned. What will we do with all the people who have coincidental HIV with their AIDS?
In all seriousness, Bob Frey is entirely wrong about how sperm behave and how AIDS works. This is either a case of terrible, criminal ignorance or hateful, homophobic grandstanding. If we look at his record on the issue I feel safe concluding that it’s both. Similar arguments were fielded by Frey’s son when he testified against same-sex marriage in front of the Minnesota House Civil Law Committee. Frey has also distributed DVDs claiming that anti-bullying efforts were part of a plot to infect the public with AIDS through sodomy. Frey covers this sodomy obsession with a fig leaf claiming that most economic ills can be traced back to sodomy-based AIDS.
“It’s not about the gay agenda, but about the science and the financial impact of that agenda. It’s more about sodomy than about pigeonholing a lifestyle…It’s about sodomy. It’s huge amounts of money. AIDS is a long term illness, causing pain, suffering, death. A long-term illness that’s very expensive to treat”
This kind of hateful scapegoating is not just harmful to the LGBT movement but is a direct threat to public health. How can one expect a public servant to enact good public health policy when they’re seemingly, willfully ignorant of reproductive health and the pathology and epidemiology of AIDS (which infects slightly more women than men). Hopefully this kind of transparent, ignorant, stupidity and hatred will not play in Frey’s district and somebody more reasonable will be elected.