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Serial killers: a review about the genetic influence on violent behavior

Journal of Psychology & Clinical Psychiatry
Julia Oliveira do Nascimento,<sup>1</sup> Maria Karollyna do Nascimento Silva Leandro<sup>2</sup>

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Introduction: Since the beginning of time, violence has accompanied man’s behavior. In this sense, the transgressions committed by the so-called Serial Killers involve the existence of heinous crimes. Thus, there is great interest in understanding how various elements can influence or predispose individuals to violence and crime.

Objective: To analyze the influence between violent behavior and genetic factors, taking into consideration elements such as hormones and genes that have a relationship with such human conduct. 
Methodology: This is a literature review with 12 studies published between 2011 and 2021, in the PubMed, BVS, Scielo, NLM Catalog, PubMed, LILACS, and PMC databases after combining the operators “Genetics” AND “Crime” AND “Violence”. Development: The following factors were found to be related to violent and potentially criminal behavior: low levels of serotonin in the brain and of 5-HIAA in the CSF; 5-HTTLPR polymorphism of the SLC6A4 gene and the HTR2A and HTR2B encoders. In the dopaminergic system, genes encoding COMT; the DAT1 and the DRD2 and DRD 4 receptors; the Val158MET COMT polymorphism; the low activity of the MAOA gene and its MAOA-uVNTR polymorphism and six other variants; the CDH13 and RBOFOX1 genes and 4 of its polymorphisms; Bipolarity and Schizophrenia disorders and, finally, Klinefelter Syndrome. 
Conclusions: It was possible to conclude that, even under some limitations, there is a relevant influence of genetic issues on a violent and potentially criminal person. Although this relationship is permeated by several other coefficients, genetics offers important findings for the understanding of criminal conduct. 


behavioral genetics, crime, genes, influence, serial killers