Gene Mutation May Turn Men Into Vicious Drunks

Genetic variant is linked to impulsive violence under influence of alcohol
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Dec 23, 2010 3:07 AM CST
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(Newser) – Scientists believe they've discovered a genetic mutation that may turn usually mild-mannered individuals into obnoxious, violent brutes once they get drunk. The mutation is linked to a brain abnormality that may contribute to violently impulsive behavior under the influence of alcohol, reports the Telegraph. The mutation interferes with a gene, HTR2B, which affects serotonin production and detection in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that influences behavior.

"Carriers of the HTR2B variant who had committed impulsive crimes were male, and all had become violent only while drunk from alcohol, which itself leads to behavioral disinhibition," said the lead researcher. The violent crimes were described as spontaneous and purposeless. The new information could lead to treatment for violent drunks.

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