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Study shows genes may contribute to antisocial behavior

New York residents may have heard that scientists have found a link between genes and the likelihood that people will exhibit delinquent tenancies, but a new study suggests that the same genes may contribute to improved outcomes as well. The study involved nearly 1,400 high school aged students in a county in Sweden and was recently published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Participants in the study filled out a survey that asked them about their relationship with their parents, sexual abuse and delinquency. A saliva sample was taken to obtain DNA. Researchers looked at the variants of three different genes. It was discovered that in addition to poorer outcomes, less common variants seemed to also producer better than average results.

Those with the less common variants who were more likely to have better than average outcomes were individuals raised in good homes and with positive relationships with their parents. On the other hand, people with less common variants who experienced sexual abuse or lived in troubled home were more likely to engage in antisocial and delinquent behavior. Scientists believe that this is because these variants make people more sensitive to their environment, so it has a greater impact on how people behave later in life.

If someone has been charged with a crime, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to help defend them or work to reduce their charges, and therefore, the penalties they face if convicted. The circumstances surrounding an incident may have a significant impact on the outcome of a case, including the actions of the authorities at the time of the arrest.

Source: News Week, "New Study Reveals Antisocial Behaviour is Linked to Genetics", Amelia Smith, December 15, 2014

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