Warrior Gene: Crime, Violence, and DNA

warrior genes

Have you ever met a person with indecent behavior? Or you have seen a person who always thinks and sees things on a criminal level?

Of course, you would have, and I am sure you would have thought of hitting him really hard or even slapping him in the face. But you don’t have to blame or also punch him because it may not be his fault.

Research had found that a gene in the human genome is responsible for a person’s aggression. This gene is called a “warrior gene.” People with “warrior gene” express a high level of aggression and destructive behavior towards any provocation.

What is Warrior Gene

It is a gene responsible for coding an enzyme called “Monoamine oxidase A.” This enzyme regulates signaling chemical or Neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, involved in impulse control.

Each person carries a warrior gene typically in their genome. While people with MAOA-L variant of gene produce less ‘monoamine oxidase A’ enzyme. It is resulting in less neurotransmitter breaking. Which alternately leads to violence, anger, and sinful thoughts.


Warrior Gene
Have a defective version of the warrior gene leads to the violence behavior

History of Warrior Gene

Warrior gene was first found in a member of the famous Dutch family with a history of violence. All the men possessed a defective gene encoding MAOA enzyme.

The story dates back to 1990s when a Dutch geneticist Han Brunner’s published his research in Science. He reported a link between abnormal behavior and a gene on X-chromosomes that encode for ‘monoamine oxidase A’ enzyme. The same year Discover magazine featured this with entitle “Violence in the Blood.”

In 2004, the term ‘warrior gene’ coined in a science article, which is about MAOA and aggression in rhesus monkeys. The recent research example includes “extreme criminal violent behavior”.

What Statistics Says

Almost every person carries a warrior gene. Some people have a defective version, which is associated with violence.

About 35% of the population carry a variant of the gene resulting in violence. According to another study, 45% of the total population may carry that gene. So, we don’t know how many warriors are present in our class or even in our family.

There is a piece of friendly advice, you have got to be very careful around the people carrying this gene. Because all they need is a little spark to get all violent and grumpy.

What is Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA)

MAOA is an enzyme which breaks down neurotransmitters, i.e., dopamine and serotonin. These molecules got an essential function in regulating mode. The gene for this enzyme is present on the X chromosome. So, women can be homozygous or heterozygous carries for the warrior gene. While men will always be heterozygous for it.

MAOA enzymatic activity depends on the type of variant present in the person’s genome. It has got two variants one is MAOA-L responsible for the low activity of ‘monoamine oxidase A’ enzyme. While the other one is MAOA-H responsible for the high activity of ‘monoamine oxidase A.’


Monoamine oxidase A
People with “warrior gene” express a high level of aggression and destructive behavior towards any provocation.


Effects of MAOA

If the enzyme MAOA is underexpressed (MAOA-L) the neurotransmitters it regulates would not be released in the body. It results in the aggression of that person.

If MAOA is overexpressed (MAOA-H), the neurotransmitters it breaks would be released and resulting in healthy behavior. Although this gene is responsible for a person’s action, there are a lot of other factors associated with behavioral responses.

Experiments associated with Warrior Gene

An experiment was taken place at the “University of California-Santa Barbara,” in which 78 people with the different variant of the MAOA gene were analyzed. They were subjected to a simple provocation, and the results were as follow:

• People with MAOA-L variant of the gene (a low activity of monoamine oxidase A), show a high level of aggression than people with MAOA-H variant of the gene (a high activity of monoamine oxidase A).

• The level of aggression was not only associated with the variant of a gene but also with the level of provocation. In the case of low provocation, they reacted with lower anger. While in fact of great provocation they were almost mad.


“All people are not created equal. Some have real gifts and talents, and some have real problems right out of the starting block. Once we accept that, we can’t dodge the responsibility for social action.” Terri Moffat


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