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  • Violence, though deeply rooted in our evolutionary history, has to be one of the most destructive of human behaviors.


  • For years, researchers have tried to understand what drives us to commit acts of violence.


  • Is it the environment we were raised in?


  • The socio-economic situation we find ourselves in?


  • Or is it driven by something completely differentsomething we have no control ofour genes?


  • Or specifically, the so-called 'warrior gene'?


  • The story of the warrior gene starts in 1978, when a woman walked into a hospital in the Netherlands, and not because she was worried about herself, but because she was worried about her family.

    戰士基因的故事開始於 1978 年,一位女子走進荷蘭的一家醫院,但她並不是擔心自己的健康,而是擔心她家人的狀況。

  • All the men in the family had a history of really terrible violent crimes.


  • There were murders, there were rapes, going back generations and generations.


  • Researchers started gathering DNA samples from the members of her family, and they discovered that all the men who had this history of very violent crime,


  • they had the same genetic change in a gene called MAOA, or monoamine oxidase A, that completely knocked out the function of the gene. It wasn't working at all.

    身上一個叫做 MAOA 的基因,也就是單胺氧化酶中,完全沒有發揮基因的作用。它的功能完全消失了。

  • We all have two copies of this 'warrior gene'.


  • It makes a molecule in your brain that breaks down a chemical called serotonin.


  • This is a neurotransmitter, it sends signals between the cells in your brain, and affects your behavior.


  • So if this gene isn't working as well as it could do, it's thought that perhaps it makes you more impulsive, it makes it harder to control urges.


  • So the Dutch study was the first time that this gene, MAOA, had been linked to violent behavior, but then a study in New Zealand took this further.

    MAOA 這個基因在荷蘭的研究中第一次被發現時便已與暴力行為相連結,但後來紐西蘭的一項研究則更進一步探討了兩者間的關係。

  • The Dunedin study followed 1,000 New Zealanders for decades, looking for connections between childhood experiences and violent behavior later in life.

    這個在但尼丁展開的研究針對 1000 名新西蘭人進行了幾十年的跟蹤調查,試圖尋找童年經歷與往後的生活中出現暴力行為之間的聯繫。

  • They found that having a variation that just lowers the level of activity of this gene, not knocks it out completely, but just lowers the activity, was associated with a history of violence.


  • But curiously, mostly only in people who also had a very difficult childhood as well.


  • And that caught the eye of researchers in Finland working with prisoners in a very high security prison.


  • We collected a cohort of around 800 prisoners, and about two-thirds of them had conducted at least one violent crime.

    我們收集了一個以約 800 名囚犯所組成的群組,其中約有三分之二的人至少進行過一次暴力犯罪。

  • But a little bit more than 10% or 15% had committed at least 10 violent crimes, murders, attempted murders, manslaughters.

    但比 10% 或 15% 稍微多一點的人曾犯下至少 10 起暴力犯罪,其中包括謀殺、謀殺未遂和屠殺。

  • I was skeptical, but what we did find was indeed if an individual had two or more violent crimes, then he or she had significantly more of the low activity MAOA.

    我本來很懷疑,但我們確實發現了如果一個人有兩次或更多的暴力犯罪行為,那麼他或她有明顯具有更多的低活性 MAOA。

  • We know that up to six in ten people are walking around with a low activity version of MAOA, but of course, six out of ten people don't commit horrific violent crimes.

    我們知道每十個人中有六個人的體內有著低活性版本的 MAOA,但這當然不代表十個人中就有六個人會犯下可怕的暴力罪行。

  • So obviously we can't say that if you've got this gene variation you are going to be a violent criminal. Genetics doesn't really work like that.


  • But this idea that there's a gene behind violent behavior, could you use that as a defense in court?


  • You know, "It wasn't me, guv. It was my genes that made me do it."


  • While it might sound a bit strange, but that is actually what's happening.


  • It's only really been used in two countries, two in an Italian court and the rest have been in American courts.


  • It's been used as a way of saying that the person lacked control.


  • I think it's the sort of evidence that is attempting to be used to dazzle a jury.


  • In the US, where you have the death penalty for these kinds of incredibly violent crimes, the stakes are obviously, literally, life and death.


  • So lawyers will try and introduce any kind of evidence they can to argue against the death penalty for their client.


  • To say that there is a gene, like a time bomb that none of us are aware of, I think is wishful thinking.


  • So humans carry different versions of the MAOA gene, and those that reduce the activity of this gene have been linked to increased risk of aggressive behavior.

    人類體內有著不同版本的 MAOA 基因,而降低該基因活性的基因已被認為與攻擊性行為風險的上升有關。

  • Some studies also suggest a link between an abusive childhood, the MAOA gene not functioning adequately, and an increased risk of developing antisocial personality disorder, which may result in committing violent criminal acts.

    一些研究還表明這與艱苦的童年、MAOA 基因沒有充分地發揮作用以及增加患反社會人格障礙的風險有關,而以上狀況都可能會導致犯下暴力犯罪行為。

  • But whilst it can be tempting to paint a simple picture of how genetics influence our behavior, in reality, it's an incredibly complex issue.


  • Everything that happens to us interacts with our genes and influences who we are and how we behave.


  • The fact that we can find a connection between genes and violent behavior doesn't mean that we're going to be heading towards some terrible genetic dystopia where little Johnny is locked up because he's got 'bad genes' that might make him do bad things.


  • That simply isn't how genetics work.


  • We have agency, we have independence, we can make our own free choices about who we are and how we behave.


Violence, though deeply rooted in our evolutionary history, has to be one of the most destructive of human behaviors.



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B1 中級 中文 基因 暴力 行為 研究 遺傳學 戰士

每個人身上都有「戰士基因」? 基因與暴力的關係 | BBC創意 (Can your genes make you violent? | BBC Ideas)

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    Summer 發佈於 2021 年 10 月 19 日