Turns out, violent crime may be genetic
Variants of two genes, MAOA and CDH13, were found to be associated with violent crime. Violent criminals, the 78 of whom had committed a total of 1,154 violent crimes, were linked most strongly to the genes, while the non-violent criminals were not associated with them.
It’s the first large-scale study to look specifically at genetics and criminal violence. MAOA, dubbed “the warrior gene”
a decade ago by Science
, the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has already been linked to aggression. The second gene, CDH13, has been previously linked to impulse control.
As the body of research relating genetics to criminal behavior grows,legal issues loom
. Research on CDH13 has been decried
by criminologists as abetting racist eugenic theories. Should genetic makeup play into a court’s consideration of a defendant’s responsibility for their actions? Genetics have appeared in defense lawyers’ arguments, and on at least one occasion have led to a lighter sentence