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DNA Testing – Don’t Blame Me, Blame My Genes

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When it comes to our actions, it’s easy to blame everything and everyone but yourself. Taking responsibility for violence and aggression is crucial in a civilised society. The idea that genetics could dictate how prone we are to aggression is a precarious one. Although DNA testing may reveal genes that link us to violence, the notion of taking away personal responsibility over our actions is dangerous.

Violent Temperament

Scientists are debating the question whether a violent temperament can be linked to our genes, but it’s thought that some genetic abnormalities revealed in DNA testing do indicate a link to violent behaviour. It’s clear however that environment plays a big part in how we behave. But testing DNA could also help uncover genes that provide clues to why some of us are more hostile then others. It’s hoped that understanding these genes in more depth could lead to scientists creating drugs to target the problem.

DNA Testing and Genetic Make-Up

The notion that testing DNA can uncover genetic make-up raises many ethical questions. Playing God, improving the human race or creating super-humans free from genetic disorders raises uncomfortable questions. Such analyses can unlock the code to life and human make-up, and the idea that behaviour from addictions to violence can be controlled or interfered with by scientists offends some religious sentiments. Some believers won’t even acknowledge Darwinism and evolution, let alone the notion that humans can interfere with their own make-up.

Concerns

Sociologists also have concerns about the role of DNA testing in finding out about behaviour. Some fear violent crime could be dismissed as not being the offender’s fault because of his or her genes. On the other hand, the information could also be used to discriminate against people who have undergone testing; information could be used for example by future employers screening potential candidates.

Research

Although testing genes and DNA may uncover some interesting results, and the field is certainly one that needs much more research, no serious scientist believes there is a “gene for criminality”. They do admit however to the fact that genes can make you more predisposed to particular personality traits. When these genes are mixed in the bubbling cauldron of our environment, upbringing, and circumstances, the result is a complicated equation that dictates how we behave. It’s thought our environments are stronger indicators of how we behave but DNA testing can reveal genes that may affect how easily or susceptible you are to certain behaviours, such as hostility and aggression.

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