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2008 National DNA Day Online Chatroom Transcript

This is just one question from an archive of the National DNA Day Moderated Chat held in April 2008. The NHGRI Director and many genomics experts from across NHGRI took questions from students, teachers and the general public on topics ranging from basic genomic research, to the genetic basis of disease, to ethical questions about genetic privacy.

Do you think that there is a genetic link towards being a serial killer? If so, do you think that jobs and colleges someday will be allowed to scan for those genes? Or is this considered genetic discrimination?
     Colleen McBride, Ph.D.: Developing new interventions to promote changes in people's behavior in ways that will lower their risk of developing certain diseases. No, it is unlikely that there is any serial killer gene. Personality is a very complicated mixture of genetics and social experiences. Although traits like aggressiveness and hostility are affected by genetics, they are also influenced by things like parenting, and social experiences such as teasing and ridicule. So it would be nearly impossible to based on genetics alone, identify anyone with any type of criminal motives.
Clarkstown High School North in NY (9th grade teacher)

< View ALL questions and answers from 2008

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