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The genetic elements that may cause a violent crime

Genetic research is so amazing for a variety of reasons. We learn more and more about ourselves -- and what makes humanity what it is -- through this research. Recently, a bit of genetic research shined a light on the criminal defense world. A team of researchers in Sweden announced that two genes are linked with violent behavior.

Before we go any further, it must be noted that the researchers are saying that this conclusion should be taken cautiously. There are so many factors that go into a violent act, let alone the factors that go on inside of a person who commits a violent act. However, the researchers are confident that the link established between violence and these two genes is there.

The first gene is called MAOA, and it distorts the normal way that the body processes and controls dopamine. Excess dopamine can cause aggressive behavior, especially if drugs or alcohol or in play. The other gene is CDH13, which messes with impulse control and interrupts the expected way that neural connections are made.

Researchers believe that these two genes are -- at least in part -- responsible for up to 10 percent of violent crimes.

It's an amazing bit of research that raises a number of other questions about the way people develop physically and mentally, and how that development plays into criminal cases. Usually we only think of the literal aspects of a crime: the evidence, the suspect, the victim. We don't always consider the other factors involved that may complicate the situation.

Source: HealthDay, "Is Violent Crime in Some People's Genes?," Alan Mozes, Oct. 28, 2014

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