10 April 2008

'Ruthlessness gene' discovered

Researchers claim they have found "a genetic link to ruthlessness" according to an article by Michael Hopkin in Nature:
Selfish dictators may owe their behaviour partly to their genes, according to a study that claims to have found a genetic link to ruthlessness. The study might help to explain the money-grabbing tendencies of those with a Machiavellian streak - from national dictators down to 'little Hitlers' found in workplaces the world over.
The idea that psychopathy could have a genetic component frightens many people. For the religious, it upsets the idea that God made everyone equal and in his image. For others, it disturbs the idea that we all have some evil in us, a dark side. Yet as we continue to repeat, there is a difference between the violence committed in a moment of emotional upheaval and the cold, planned, instrumental violence of the invasion of Iraq or the genocide of the Palestinians. Psychopaths want to obscure the boundaries between their deviance and our misguided passion. Who has never felt so anger they have wished someone dead? But how many of us would actually go through with it? We know that we do have a dark side, but the psychopath would have us believe that ours and theirs are the same thing. They are not.


Blogger Darwin said...

Genesis Biolabs is offering a mail-in test for the "ruthlessness" gene.


"We are a product not just of our genetics, but of our experiences and our choices. However, one can conceal or misrepresent ones choices and motives, but genetics do not lie. There are numerous situations where knowing if someone has the ruthless or altruistic version of AVPR1a might be useful. Before getting married, or making a business partnership, this genetic test might be appropriate. All of our politicians should probably submit to this test. "

An objective test suggesting if a person is only motivated by self-interest my be useful in certain circumstances.

8:27 AM  

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