A criminal’s genetic make-up could in the future determine how long they are sentenced to spend in jail and affect when or if they might be released.
Genetic or neuroscientific evidence being used in the justice system was not far-fetched and could happen in New Zealand, the University of Otago’s Prof Colin Gavaghan said in Dunedin last night at a Genetics Week lecture titled Dealing Ethically with Genes for Criminality.
Research suggested people with genes causing low levels of an enzyme called MAO-A, when combined with a bad childhood, had a significantly higher rate of violent criminality, he said. In contrast, those with high levels of MAO-A, even those who experienced bad childhoods, were less prone to violence.
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