The 2-Repeat Allele of the MAOA Gene Confers an Increased Risk for Shooting and Stabbing Behaviors

Abstract

There has been a great deal of research examining the link between a polymorphism in the promoter region of the MAOA gene and antisocial phenotypes. The results of these studies have consistently revealed that low activity MAOA alleles are related to antisocial behaviors for males who were maltreated as children. Recently, though, some evidence has emerged indicating that a rare allele of the MAOA gene—that is, the 2-repeat allele—may have effects on violence that are independent of the environment. The current study builds on this research and examines the association between the 2-repeat allele and shooting and stabbing behaviors in a sample of males drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Analyses revealed that African-American males who carry the 2-repeat allele are significantly more likely than all other genotypes to engage in shooting and stabbing behaviors and to report having multiple shooting and stabbing victims. The limitations of the study are discussed and suggestions for future research are offered.

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Acknowledgments

This research uses data from Add Health, a program project designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris, and funded by P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperating funding from 17 other agencies. Special acknowledgement is due to Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Persons interested in obtaining data files from Add Health should contact Add Health, Carolina Population Center, 123 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-2524 (addhealth@unc.edu). No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis.

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Correspondence to Kevin M. Beaver.

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Beaver, K.M., Barnes, J.C. & Boutwell, B.B. The 2-Repeat Allele of the MAOA Gene Confers an Increased Risk for Shooting and Stabbing Behaviors. Psychiatr Q 85, 257–265 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11126-013-9287-x

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Keywords

  • Add Health
  • MAOA
  • Shooting
  • Stabbing