Is the Serial Killer Gene Real?

Is the serial killer gene a real thing?
Okay, judge me. I learned about this while I was watching Riverdale. But I couldn’t get it out of my head. I have a flair for the morbid, and interesting science stuff. So I did a little research, and as it turns out, “the serial killer gene” is real. In a sense anyway…

Is the Serial Killer Gene Real? Is the Serial Killer Gene Real?

Monoamine Oxidase: The Serial Killer Gene

MAOA, or monoamine oxidase, is a gene that has been linked with aggression — or a lack there of. Research has shown that Low MAOA can be a factor in higher levels of aggression. Research does however seem to be limited, and there is still the question of Nature Vs Nurture. Ted Bundy seems to be the most well known individual with low MAOA. The only serial killer that I am aware of known to possess this trait. This is probably why it’s more commonly referred to as the warrior gene.

Who is effected by the Serial Killer Gene?

Yes, I know, I’m still referring to it as the serial killer gene. It sounds more exciting that way, so you’ll have to live with it. 

Here’s what you need to know:

Everyone carries the MAOA gene. The gene alone is not the cause of serial killer/warrioresque behavior. Low MAOA, or MAOA-L, is the allele that has been linked to aggression. However, somewhere around 33% of the population carry these alleles. And while I don’t always like other people, it’s clear that 33% of the human race isn’t running around ax murdering their peers. Upbringing, environment, and various psychological factors play into the minds of criminals — so I wouldn’t panic. 

Some good news for my ladies though, according to The US National Library of Medicine MAOA deficiency seems to almost exclusively effect men.

The Symptoms

The US National Library of Medicine lists the symptoms of the disorder as “mild intellectual disability and behavioral problems, including aggressive and violent outbursts.” Which makes sense, because MAOA assists in the break down of of the neurotransmitters that regulate, sleep, emotion, and our bodies response to stress. 

If you’re still interested, and you enjoy reading academic studies, I found this to be a good read as well: Monoamine oxidase A gene (MAOA) predicts behavioral aggression following provocation.

Did you already know about the serial killer gene? Have you learned any new facts while binge watching Netflix lately? Let me know in the comments.

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Miss Misanthrope

6 thoughts on “Is the Serial Killer Gene Real?

  1. Hi Kimmy, interesting topic and I indeed learned a new topic. 33% is a big percentage, I’m quite shocked. I want to read and learn on this topic now haha. Thanks!

  2. I have always been so fascinated with the idea of a genetic component to the development of a serial killer. I’ve done a lot of reading into this, and you do a great job of summarizing it all here.

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