September 23, 2002
A violence promoting gene

How important will personal genetic sequencing be in changing mating decisions? It partly depends on how many genetic variations are found to influence personality and behavior (obviously health and appearance genes will be important in mating choices as well) . Therefore I'm going to post every good study I come across that shows links between genetic variations, personality, and behavior.

This is a report about a gene that codes for monoamine oxidase-A which breaks down neurotransmitters (there are even MAO inhibitor drugs used for treating mental illness). The genetic variation studied here sounds like its in the gene expression regulatory region. Note how children with the high risk variation become a threat in adult life only if abused as children:

The results were clear. Only 12% of the group had both abused childhoods and low-activity promoter regions, yet this group accounted for 44% of those who had criminal convictions for violence. Fully 85% of the 12% showed some form of routine anti-social behaviour. The next most anti-social combination (high-activity promoters and an abused childhood) resulted in only about 45% of men showing routine anti-social behaviour, while only a quarter of those who had had tranquil childhoods were anti-social in adulthood, regardless of their promoter type.

This result also begins to explain the phenomenon of kids who have terrible childhoods who turn out to be wonderful adults. They just don't have the requisite genetic makeup to be antisocial.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2002 September 23 11:29 AM  Brain Genetics

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