Genetic Link to Violent Crime Found

on September 22, 2010 in Law Enforcement, Psychology by

A joint Finnish-American study has found evidence of a genetic predisposition to violent crime. The study followed 167 convicts for seven years after release from prison. All were convicted of aggravated violent crime, were alcoholic, and were rated as psychopathic. They also were tested to show a particular variance of a gene called monoamine oxidase A (MAOA).

Said Helsinki University researcher Matti Virkkunen, who co-authored the study published in Psychiatric Research:

It has long been known that there is a biological, a genetic element to psychotic tendencies.

For each additional point on the psychopathic assessment test, those with a “high activity” MAOA variance were 6.8% more likely to become repeat offenders. The genetic test becomes a highly significant factor when added to variables such as the psychopathic assessment test, alcohol use and age, said Virkkunen.

The researchers recommended that the genetic test be used as part of the assessment test when someone convicted of a severely violent crime is being evaluated for parole.

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