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Flora Young

on 8 October 2012

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Transcript of MAO-A

By Flora Young and Catriona MacDonald MAO-A and criminal tendencies What is MAO-A and what does it do?
Who is likely to be affected by it?
What is the connection to criminal behaviour?
How significant is MAO-A in violent crime? Monoamine oxidise Monoamine oxidise is an enzyme which kills neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. In 1993 the gene became known as the "criminal gene" after being studied by DR Brunner using a dutch family whose male relatives were prone to violence. There has been a correlation between the faulty MAO-A gene and aggression and violence. This dysfunctional gene is found in one in three western men. Currently this abnormality is know as the "warrior gene" after the Maori men in New Zealand who are known for violent acts and crime. What it is Monoamine oxidise is an enzyme which kills neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.
Low levels of these neurotransmitters can lead to psychological problems like depression and anxiety and can also make you feel unsafe in normal day life. Stopping MAO-A using a MAO inhibitor is used in the treatment of depression and anxiety.
The warrior gene is active on the X chromosome and so can effect women and men. However since men only have one X chromosome if they inherit the faulty gene its in full power whereas women either don't experience the symptoms or it has less effect on them than men. In 2006, following an argument, Bradley Waldroup shot a friend of his wife eight times and then attempted kill his wife with a machete.
His attorney argued that since he had the "warrior gene", he was genetically predisposed to violence through no fault of his own.
The argument was successful: instead of receiving the usual death sentence, Bradley Waldroup was sentenced to thirty-two years in prison. Bradley Waldroup Different races can be more disposed to getting this disorder, cultures which have experienced a lot of war fare are more likely to to suffer from MAO-A, 77% of chinese men suffer from it.

An example of this would be the Maori people who have some of the highest rates of crime of ethnic minorities in New Zealand. Whose likely to get it Are people with the "warrior gene" more likely to commit violent crime? MAO-A and criminal behaviour A study published in 2009 by Dominic Johnson at the University of Edinburgh suggested that men carrying the "warrior gene" were more aggressive, but only after a large provocation and without apparent impulsiveness.
A subsequent study by Cary Frydman at CalTech suggested that the "warrior gene" actually just makes people more likely to take risks to improve their own situation.
However, in a New Zealand study, it was found that men with low MAO-A activity who had suffered abuse in childhood were nearly four times more likely to have been convicted of a violent crime by the age of 26. Inside the Warrior Gene http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/born-rage-inside-warrior-gene/ http://brainethics.wordpress.com/2006/07/11/maoa-and-the-risk-for-impulsivity-and-violence/
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_tot_cri-crime-total-crimes Bibliography Should the "warrior gene" be taken into account in criminal cases? It seems more likely that it is the social factors (i.e. poverty or an abusive childhood) which are the main cause of people turning to violent crime. MAO-A: The "Warrior Gene"
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