Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Minority Report meets Gattaca!

"I don't want to say it is a crime gene, but 1 percent of people have it and scored very high in violence and delinquency,"

This comes from the sociology professor Guang Guo lead researcher who discovered a novel variant which supposedly puts you at risk of delinquency and crime....

His team, which studied only boys, used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a U.S. nationally representative sample of about 20,000 adolescents in grades 7 to 12. The young men in the study are interviewed in person regularly, and some give blood samples.

This was a replication of a study published last year

It is important to note that this set of studies only apply to MALES!!! Others have weak associations in females.

So here's the million dollar question...is it valid and can should we screen?

Whoa......let's evaluate the study first!!!

Guo's team constructed a "serious delinquency scale" based on some of the questions the youngsters answered.

"Nonviolent delinquency includes stealing amounts larger or smaller than $50, breaking and entering, and selling drugs,"

They then sampled some blood to check for prior demonstrated genes.....Those were the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene, the dopamine transporter 1 (DAT1) gene and the dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) gene.

The prior study showed that men with a 2R in MAOA report a level of serious delinquency and violent delinquency in adolescence and young adulthood that were about twice (CI: (0.21, 3.24), P=0.025; and CI: (0.37, 2.5), P=0.008 for serious and violent delinquency, respectively) as high as those for participants with the other variants.

I do await the publication for August to really get into the nuts and bolts of the study and I will get back to you with that. If you look at the other 3 studies, they are very well done. This has also been published in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

This new study tidbits have been released. It turns out that these predisposed individuals like everyone else with predisposition for anything....may require some environmental trigger....in these young men the following are triggers..

The effect of repeating a grade depended on whether a boy had a certain mutation in MAOA called a 2 repeat, they found.

And a certain mutation in DRD2 seemed to set off a young man if he did not have regular meals with his family.

"But if people with the same gene have a parent who has regular meals with them, then the risk is gone," Guo said.

I will tell you some more when I know some more....

The Sherpa Says:

One thing is for sure....these genes sure seem replicated. But the risk of "Crime" is only 2 fold.....Is that really grounds for keeping someone in jail upon parole hearing?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have a lot of respect for your critical thinking skills. You may not see yourself as one of the leaders in clinical genetics, but you are.

Maybe you could put together a blog post for must read articles?