Genetics will not explain Newtown

& | December 21, 2012 |
Genetics Will Not Explain NewtownHuffington Post (blog)David Kaufman is director of research at the Genetics and Public Policy Center at the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University. FOLLOW SCIENCE. Like. 28k. Get Alerts. Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting · Newtown School Shooting ...and more »

The tragedy in Connecticut last week shook all of us to our core, angering us, and pushing us all to find fault somewhere to explain the devastation. As a country, we have pointed fingers at guns, legislatures, school security and mental health care — anything that could help us make sense of this horrid devastation of our most valuable and vulnerable children.

Dr. H. Wayne Carver II, the Connecticut medical examiner in search of a cause, has turned to “genetic clues” to explain Adam Lanza’s motives. Individuals with an autism spectrum disorder are not known routinely to exhibit violent behavior, so he reasoned that other genetic markers may explain his psychopathic behavior. At this time, however, no such genetic clues exist that could be used to explain his actions.

Genetics and environment interactions that produce a disease like diabetes are extremely complex. The factors that lead to an individual’s behavior are even more complicated.

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