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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

All about the "Warrior Gene" : The Intricacies, Mechanisms and Afterthoughts.

Time to dig into the warrior gene - a gene commonly described as having predisposed an individual to "acts of violence" or displaced aggression. What is this gene though? Where does it originate from?
Does it really cause or predispose to violence?

Before I even get to any of that, simple logic should tell you no gene, brain chemical or otherwise can cause aggression or violence. It's like the irrational concept of gun control, no gun is the problem, it doesn't load itself up and shoot people itself.

So that's out of the way, however, this "warrior gene" does amplify responsive aggression and initiative aggression, when the situation calls for it (or doesn't.). You see, because the irony is that there is no proof this gene can actually impair impulse control when there is a given will or training against feeding into it. It may be difficult, but many people have succeeded in life with this "warrior gene".



"former Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney and current State Delegate Joe Morrissey"


^Is one of these individuals^
 Along with many others who have not been tested, but have strong Italian/Roman roots. Many african-Americans and some German families also carry this gene, as well as some Spanish families.The gene is an MAO (Monoamine Oxidase) variant, coming from the X-chromosome (mother's side), and is commonly referred to without scientific basis as the "stubborn gene". There are other genes involved of course in stubbornness. 

It's estimated that a third of all men carry this gene.

What this gene does is create abnormally low levels of Monoamine Oxidase; which is an enzyme that degrades the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. This often leads to elevated blood pressure due to high adrenergic (adrenaline) and serotonin activity. Most may see serotonin as an inhibitory (calming) neurotransmitter, but at chronically elevated amounts, it ends up rising blood pressure and creating a further "fight or flight" response.

The result is a very serious and highly motivated state, people with the warrior gene rarely smile. If they do, it is usually in anticipation of something positive in their life, or when something (or someone) makes them truly happy. However the constant "on-edge" personality, sometimes creates a blunted emotional response. So people who also lack morals or choose not to receive them, and simultaneously having this gene, may be predisposed to becoming some degree of a "psychopath" and / or having bipolar/manic behavior.

This doesn't mean there aren't good "warriors" of course, it's just a tendency, that's it. A tendency that may be persistent, but can be as many have said - "channeled properly".

Unfortunately, with all of the impure instruments of this society, and fascination with violence and weapons in so many - it's like a key and lock for many individuals. Making urges even stronger.

Take away these aspects of society (and other stressors), and I'm convinced that the only thing a warrior gene will do in regards to social interaction - is create a personality that is aware, protective of important people/things, and very motivated.


You see because responses are everything, and so are the Tools that engineer them.


Interstingly, the mental health system and mental health courts have recognized this "warrior gene" as a means to dismissing the guilt of a carrying individual by "means of mental health defect or illness".
For the second time in two years neuroscience and behavioral genetics have entered the Italian courts. Judge Luisa Lo Gatto of Como, near Milan, reduced the sentence of a convicted murderer from life to 20 years, after ruling that neuroimaging and genetic tests proved the partial mental illness of the defendant. Stefania Albertani pled guilty in 2009 to having killed her sister, burned her corpse and attempted to kill her parents. In 2009 another judge partially agreed that a murderer was mentally ill on the basis of abnormalities in brain-imaging scans and in genes linked to violent behaviour- including the so-called “warrior gene” MAOA (see ‘Lighter sentence for murderer with ‘bad genes’’).

Though it may be defined as a defect in these cases, in my opinion - it is actually a superior body chemistry in some ways. More made for fighting, and tactical motivation - but at the same time being a vigilant, opinionated and strong-minded person.


Getting deeper into the chemical basis for this gene - elevated serotonin levels (as in reduced breakdown) may also rise endogenous opiate or endorphin levels (or paradoxically, cause low levels by means of negative feedback), this can also cause or predispose individuals to either opiate addiction or sensation seeking. Especially when one's mind is constantly racing.
Additionally, constant fight or flight response and / or elevated blood pressure is grounds for adrenal fatigue down the road - so carriers of the MAO-L gene may also be prone to stimulant addiction when this happens. Because sustained levels of brain monoamines (especially noradrenaline) can weaken cortisol and adrenaline output over time. People with this MAO gene will be more sensitive to the side-effects of SSRI's, (including increased impulsivity and outbursts), and also predisposition to vascular/endothelial dysfunction caused by such drugs. High Blood Pressure is very very common, as is spontaneous hypertensive crisis, in people with the MAO-L. Most individuals with this gene can benefit from nitric oxide boosters, nitrate supplementation and GABA-ergic supplements, at the same point, this is why so many with this gene become easily addicted to Alcohol, Barbituates and other depressents.

People with the MAO-L gene also have a propensity towards grandiosity (due to elevated dopamine levels) and often narcissism, and the driving serotonin-adrenaline levels keep this grandiosity in motion. Thus narcissism (even extreme kinds) runs particularly strong in MAO-gene positive individuals.





****SOURCES****
http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2009/01/hotsauce
http://blogs.nature.com/news/2011/09/italian_court_reduces_murder_s.html
https://www.igenea.com/en/warrior-gene
http://www.academia.edu/3492189/How_does_the_discovery_of_warrior_genes_and_other_inherited_predispositions_affect_the_criminal_justice_system

http://phys.org/news163419590.html
http://theunsilencedscience.blogspot.com/2012/12/scientists-rediscover-violence-gene.html










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3 comments:

  1. always was very interested in the "warrior gene" all of my cousins have it supposedly

    ReplyDelete
  2. nice read, love it! you have a great vocabulary!

    ReplyDelete

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