Criminal behaviour could be ‘all in the genes’

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

LONDON - Is a life of crime hereditary? Apparently, it is, says a new research carried out in the US.

The study of young men and women who had been adopted as children found they were up to four and a half more times to have been in trouble with the police if one of their natural parents had a criminal record.

It has suggested that natural parents have a huge effect on the behaviour of their kids despite having little or no input in their upbringing, which has clearly shown the influence of genetics.

The Florida State University studied as many as 250 young men and women were first questioned when in High School and then periodically interviewed for the next 13 years.

Young men and women who had a biological parent who had been arrested at some point were up to 4.5 times more likely to have been arrested themselves than those whose natural parents were law-abiding,

Moreover, a jailed biological parent also dramatically raised the risk of the child having spent time in prison or a young offenders institution.

“Adoptees who have a biological father or a biological mother who have been arrested previously are significantly more likely to be arrested, sentenced to probation, incarcerated and arrested multiple times,” the Daily Mail quoted Kevin Beaver, the study’s author and a criminologist, as saying.

Genes implicated in violence anti-social behaviour include one called MAO-A which makes an enzyme which breaks down chemicals in the brain linked to aggression.

Rogue versions of MAO-A and other similar genes have previously been found to have the strongest effect when paired with a problematic upbringing.

The findings were published in the journal Biological Psychiatry. (ANI)

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