There’s a thought-provoking piece over at Brain Ethics about the role of genetics in violence, and particularly the role of a gene that codes for a type of monoamine oxidase enzyme involved in the breakdown of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.
The post reports on recent research led by neuroscientist Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg that found that variants of the MAOA gene predicted amygdala size, and both the response of the amygdala and cingulate cortex.
Both the amygdala and the cingulate cortex have been strongly linked to emotion recognition, and the cingulate cortex to empathy and anticipation.
It may be that differences in these structures may make someone more likely to react violently in certain situations.
The full story is a little more nuanced that this, however, and you’re best visiting Brain Ethics for more comprehensive coverage and analysis.
Link to article ‘MAOA and the risk for impulsivity and violence’.