Friday, March 24, 2006

Ethical issues on genetics of violent behavior

via Science
One gene thought to play a role in violent behavior codes for an enzyme called monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A)... In a recent study, researchers showed that males with lower levels were more likely to develop antisocial behavior in response to being maltreated during childhood (Science, 2 August 2002, p. 851.). This may be because they are less able to reduce their neurotransmitter levels to a baseline level after a stressful event, limiting their ability to control aggressive impulses... The differences, as revealed by MRI scans, were striking: For example, brain regions known to be involved in control of emotions and impulsivity, such as the anterior cingulate cortex, were on average 8% smaller in subjects with low levels of MAO-A. In addition, when subjects were shown pictures of angry or fearful faces, those with low MAO-A showed much greater activation of the amygdala, a region associated with anger and violent behavior

There's a important ethical issues with this study. In a after 9/11 security world, the gouvernments increased mesure on security. Then, if they could know in early stage of life who could became antisocial and commit violent behavior, they could also want to control them. A exemple of mesure that they could do is to keep a registry of how everyone rate on a biological violent behavior scale. This idea seems unethical to me, but for a lot of people that probably sound a good and safe idea. In those people, I think of Mr. Bush for the U.S. and maybe M. Harper for Canada, they are both conservative. I don't know the laws about the utility of scientific finding but I hope there's a law to protect people on those kind of issue. I really think we need this knowledge as scientific fact, but I'm again the utilisation for control of violent behavior. We need a protection for futur genetics finding, if we don't want to all of us be scan by genetics screening and be put on a file.

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