“Warrior Genes” More Fiction Than Science


Writing in the Genetic Literacy Project, David Warmflash discusses a recent study that identified two genes “associated with violent crime.” Even though people with those two genes “were 13 times more likely to have a history of repeated violent behavior,” Warmflash notes that even the study’s own authors cautioned people not to make too much of the finding.

“The authors of the study said at least 5-10% of all violent crime in Finland could be attributed to individuals with these genotypes,” writes Warmflash. “But they stressed the genes could not be used to screen criminals. Even if an individual has a ‘high-risk combination’ of these genes the majority will never commit a crime.”

According to Warmflash, the lead author of the study said, “Committing a severe, violent crime is extremely rare in the general population. So even though the relative risk would be increased, the absolute risk is very low.”

Warrior genes? Genetic screens for “evil” traits likely to remain science fiction, at least for now (Genetic Literacy Project, December 8, 2014)


  1. There are serious problems with any studies which claim they found a gene for a behaviour. Usually when you read them carefully turns out that there is marginally significant correlation of a number of genes with 0 predictive power and likely artifact of statistics anyway.

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