MadSci Network: Genetics

Re: Is it true that criminals are born with a certain set of chromosomes?

Date: Wed May 19 18:45:24 1999
Posted By: David Beck, MadSci Admin
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 926880518.Ge

You said:
"I have read articles and such that sorta explain the chromosome 
mystery of criminals.  From what I understand most criminals have 
an extra y chromosome."

This is ABSOLUTELY false. That said, some males, though it is a very rare 
disorder, do have an extra Y chromosone. These males are universally sterile, 
meaning they can't have children, and they do tend to be more agressive than the 
typical male. This means that these individuals, as they are naturally more 
aggressive, have a higher percentage than normal individuals that commit a 
violent crime - such as spousal abuse, bar fights and so forth. VERY few 
criminals actually have an extra Y chromosone, and just because you have an 
extra Y chromosone doesn't magically make you a criminal.

So what is true is that if you have an extra Y chromosone it is more difficult 
not to be agressive. That said there are certaintly some men with an extra Y 
chromosone that are by no means aggressive. Criminal behaviour is both a 
cultural and in individual act. We each make our choices every single day, it is 
true that some people are naturally more agressive than others, but it is still 
mostly a cultural and individual choice that leads to violent behaviour. People 
resist the strongest of urges every single day, but others choose not to resist 
those urges. They would like to blame their genes so that they don't have to 
feel responsible, but each person is responsible for their own choices. And you 
must choose to rape, murder, or steal, just like you must choose to be honest, 
charitable, and benevolent. No matter what any one says, that choice will always 
be an individuals choice.

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