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Criminal Behavior and Genetics Can criminal behavior be blamed on certain genes or genetic make-up Well some scientists believe so Up until just recently no one has had any way or incentive to explore the genetic side of criminal behavior Now that scientists have the tools and curiosity to conduct experiments and do research on this topic they found some interesting facts In the 1960s scientists thought that almost all men with the XYY chromosome pattern were destined to be criminals That hypothesis is partially true but now scientists believe that a low level of serotonin a by-product of the enzyme monoamine oxidase triggers violence and hostility Serotonin acts as a controller for hostility and violence Research shows that most people who commit a crime are very unlikely to commit another However habitual criminals are the ones who might possibly have criminal tendencies due to a possible mutation of the A-gene on the X chromosome for the enzyme monoamine oxidase A The more severe or violent the crime a person commits usually means they have a lower serotonin level than someone that commits a less severe or violent crime Scientists have observed monkeys that have normal or lower levels of serotonin The monkeys with the lower level of serotonin were either more violent or antisocial toward the other monkeys Therefore the theory that a low level of serotonin causes criminal behavior is the cause for a lot of the more violent acts of crime in our society today Works Cited Elmer-DeWitt Philip Solving the Mysteries of Heredity Time Mar 20 1989
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