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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Is Violent behaviour in genes ?

Though generalisation in general is not right, often, we hear and do generalise – it can be about people, their traits, attitudes and more.  Right from school classrooms to middle of road, you would find some argumentative and some ready for a fisticuff.  Why are some prone to fight without provocation or reason – why are they violent ? – also the tendency to harm others without reason !!

A report states that a genetic analysis of almost 900 offenders in Finland has revealed two genes associated with violent crime. Those with the genes were 13 times more likely to have a history of repeated violent behaviour. The authors of the study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, said at least 5-10% of all violent crime in Finland could be attributed to individuals with these genotypes. But they stressed the genes could not be used to screen criminals. Many more genes may be involved in violent behaviour and environmental factors are also known to have a fundamental role. Even if an individual has a "high-risk combination" of these genes the majority will never commit a crime, the lead author of the work Jari Tiihonen of the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden said. "Committing a severe, violent crime is extremely rare in the general population. So even though the relative risk would be increased, the absolute risk is very low," he told the BBC.

Each criminal was given a profile based on their offences, categorising them into violent or non-violent. The association between genes and previous behaviour was strongest for the 78 who fitted the "extremely violent offender" profile. This group had committed a total of 1,154 murders, manslaughters, attempted homicides or batteries. A replication group of 114 criminals had all committed at least one murder.  Are criminals born with a ‘murder gene’ -  Scientists identify cause of violent behaviour.

Another article in MailOnline states that violent thugs  aren’t criminalised by society, but may be born that way.  Researchers have claimed that some people may be born with genes that makes them inherently violent. If true it would indicate some are simply born to be violent, rather than being criminalised by society.

The scientists identified two genes that may be associated with extremely violent behaviour.  One of them is a variant of cadherin 13 (CDH13), which is involved in neural connectivity, and has been linked to impulse control in extremely violent offenders.  Previous studies have linked certain genes to violent crime, including a gene called monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) that contributes to less recycling of the neurotransmitter, dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical released by nerve cells to send signals to other nerve cells. It plays a major role in reward-motivated behaviour.The researchers found a possible link between violent offences and MAOA, with the strongest association in the extremely violent offending group.

Jonathan Kellerman  is an American psychologist, and Edgar and Anthony Award-winning author of numerous bestselling suspense novels. His writings on psychology (and specifically psychopathology) include Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children. Most of his fictional stories feature the character of Alex Delaware, a child psychologist who consults for the police, assisted in his investigations by LAPD detective Milo Sturgis.
The Conspiracy Club of Jonathan Kellerman has the hero Jeremy Carrier, a psychologist,  undergoing different stress – of his passionate romance with nurse Jocelyn Banks  cut short by her kidnapping and brutal murder, young psychologist.  Added trouble is that of brutal murders of some streetwalkers and others and Investigators becoming eye-wary on him as a prime suspect in the slaying.  To escape the pain, he buries himself in his work at City Central Hospital --- only to be drawn deeper into a waking nightmare when more women turn up murdered in the same gruesome fashion as Jocelyn. As the suspicion surrounding Jeremy intensifies, the only way for him to prove his innocence and put his torment to rest is to follow the deadly trail of a modern-day Jack the Ripper.  The storyline bluntly talks of ‘violence in the genes’ of some and those being ready to assault and hurt others.

With regards – S. Sampthkumar

21st Jan 2015.

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