by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted June 26, 2007 in DNA and Disease
We need gene therapy for a peaceful world. A world without fear, sadness, shame, anger, and hate. A world of equilibrium. A world of
happy shiny shiny happy people.
I’m out of it.
I didn’t know what else to think after reading about a recent study showing that girls with a particular variation of the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene are more prone to developing alcoholism later in life after experiencing childhood sexual abuse. The MAOA gene that results in lower enzymatic activity has already been associated with behavior problems in “maltreated boys” and was also implicated in this study. No such association between the MAOA gene, alcoholism, and antisocial behavior were found in women who had not been abused.
Study participants were American Indian women who, as a group, are six times more likely to develop alcoholism and antisocial personality disorder than the average US woman. And, half of American Indian women report childhood sexual abuse as compared to 13% in the US population. Can it get any more depressing than this? And what are we supposed to do with results like these?
Clearly, my tongue-in-cheek suggestion of soul and mind-numbing gene therapy is totally inappropriate. But I ask you, so what if genes predispose abused women to alcoholism? We need to focus not on genes but on STOPPING CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE. Then, we can talk about alcoholism and anti-social behavior and perhaps targeting genes that increase a person’s susceptibility. But STOPPING CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE would go a long long way.
The MAOA gene has also been linked to violent behavior. All men belonging to a family in the Netherlands harboring this mutation were arsonists and rapists. And, mice without an MAOA gene have been found to be excessively aggressive. Low-expression of the MAOA gene is linked to violent tendencies.
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and DNA analysis, 142 healthy men and women, who had no history of violence, were shown pictures of angry and fearful faces. Researchers found:
- Those with the low-expressing version of MAOA were more impulsive.
- People with low-expressing MAOA had different brain size and activity.
- Activity of those parts of the brain in males with low-expression MAOA differed more greatly than their female counterparts.
What do you think? Should these findings indicate gene therapy for the toughest members of our criminal society? Ethically speaking, it could be almost as bad as eugenics. Thereâ€™s a fine line to walk between safety and freedom.
NB: The MAOA gene has also been linked to novelty seeking and reward dependence.
Murderer Gets Reduced Sentence Because His Genes Made Him Do It...
Amerindian DNA Sells for 55 Dollars...
The Genetics of Sexual Development...
DNA Quote: Steven Pinker...
More on Dr. J. Craig Venter’s Fabulous Genome...
Want a job? Submit your DNA...
DNA Quote of the Day: Dr. Terri Beaty...
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.
Search Eye on DNA
- Genetic Genealogy on Faces of America
- DNA Network Tweet Cloud
- Genetics = Real Science
- Larry David’s DNA Test
- Lopez Tonight First Late-Night Show to Offer DNA Testing
- American Genes Don’t Exist
- Knowledge about Genetic Risk is Power or is it Fear?
- Murderer Gets Reduced Sentence Because His Genes Made Him Do It
- Video: Knome’s Ari Kiirikki Speaks with Medgadget
- DNA Toys: Ben 10 and Digimon Digivice
- 100 Facts About DNA
- Salaries for Jobs in Genetics
- Fetal Gender DNA Tests Answer Common Pregnancy Question...Or Not
- How To Determine Paternity Without A DNA Test
- What does DNA mean to you?
- Eye on DNA Interview: Dr. Tzung-Fu Hsieh of RedTracer DNA Test for the Red Hair Gene, MC1R
- Books About DNA: The Crime of Reason by Robert B. Laughlin
- Genetically Modified Organisms Bring in the Cash
- Navigenics Introduces Physician Portal and Annual Insight Service
- People Who’ve Had Their Genomes Sequenced
09/29/2009 07:03 am
- Larry David’s DNA Test
11/17/2009 02:52 am
- 23andMe DNA Tests for $399, Down From $999
09/10/2008 04:33 am
- Crazy Genetic Marketing Ideas
07/05/2008 09:14 pm
- Parenting Children Using Genetic Tests
05/18/2009 02:09 am
- Business of DNA
- DNA @ Google Answers
- DNA and Disease
- DNA and Genealogy
- DNA and the Law
- DNA Around the World
- DNA Fun
- DNA in General
- DNA Inventions and Gadgets
- DNA Lab Talk
- DNA Podcasts and Videos
- DNA Quotes and Excerpts
- DNA Testing
- Gene Therapy
- Genetic Engineering
- Genetically Modified Foods and Organisms
- Jobs Involving DNA
- Personalities with DNA
- Polls About DNA
- January 2010
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- April 2008
- March 2008
- February 2008
- January 2008
- December 2007
- November 2007
- October 2007
- September 2007
- August 2007
- July 2007
- June 2007
- May 2007
- April 2007
- The Inoculated Mind
- Women in Science
- Health News Blog