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Gina Kolata: Are There Biological Clues To Extreme Violence?
Health | December 27, 2012

Gina Kolata: Are There Biological Clues To Extreme Violence?

In a recent New York Times article, Gina Kolata explores the role that genetics play in the development of violent and otherwise socially unacceptable behaviors. In the wake of the tragic Newton, Connecticut school shootings, people are desperately seeking answers to the culprit's motivations in an effort to help prevent similar incidents in the future. Scientists at a Connecticut university have said that they are planning to examine the genetic makeup of the culprit's brain. "This apparently is the first time researchers will attempt a detailed study of the DNA of a mass killer," Kolata explains.

The groundbreaking research has positive and negative implications, Kolata says. "Ultimately, understanding the genetics of violence might enable researchers to find ways to intervene before a person commits a horrific crime," Kolata writes. "But that goal would be difficult to achieve, and the pursuit of it risks jeopardizing personal liberties. Some scientists shudder at the thought of labeling people potential violent criminals." The team conducting the research have been close-lipped on what exactly they'd be looking for, but the results will certainly have serious implications on the way we examine and prosecute violent criminals.

Kolata is the senior health and science writer for the New York Times and is the author of several acclaimed books, including Rethinking Thin, Clone: the Road to Dolly and the Path Ahead, Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for the Truth About Exercise, and Health and Flu. Her articles cover a gamut of health-related topics and have shed light on important issues and influenced public policy decisions. She has appeared on Charlie Rose and The Colbert Report and lectured at many public events. She speaks with candor and deep knowledge about a foray of newsworthy issues and explains how they apply to you, and to your life as a whole.
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