A genetic mutation that makes men impulsive and aggressive, especially when drunk, has been isolated in Finnish men.
Research on violent criminals in Finland has uncovered a genetic variant of a brain receptor molecule that contributes that makes people more likely to be aggressive when they have been drinking.
The findings could lead to a better understanding into why some people are more prone to sudden bouts of violence and to the treatment of violent offenders.
Finnish men watch an ice hockey match while having a sauna in Helsinki. A genetic mutation in some Finnish men makes them more pre-disposed towards violence
Incredibly, the gene is only found in men from Finland and so cannot explain similar behaviour in other countries such as the UK.
A report of the findings appears in the December 23rd issue of Nature.
“Impulsivity, or action without foresight, is a factor in many pathological behaviours including suicide, aggression, and addiction,” says David Goldman chief of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics at the NIH”s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
“But it is also a trait that can be of value if a quick decision must be made or in situations where risk-taking is favoured.”
In collaboration with researchers in Finland and France, Dr. Goldman and colleagues studied a sample of violent criminal offenders in Finland.
The hallmark of the violent crimes committed by individuals in the study sample was that they were spontaneous and purposeless.
“We conducted this study in Finland because of its unique population history and medical genetics,” says Dr. Goldman.