Vol. 11, No. 1, 2005 Page 7


A new study by researchers in Taiwan adds to evidence linking altered serotonin levels to violence.

Previous research has suggested that the risk for aggression is increased for individuals with a low-activity "short" (S) variant of a region of the serotonin transporter (5-HTTP) gene, which plays a critical role in regulating the reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin by nerve cells. In the new study, D. L. Liao and colleagues compared 135 extremely violent male criminals to controls and found that "the proportion of S-allele carriers was significantly higher in the criminal group than in the controls." Their data indicate, they say, that the serotonin transporter gene "may be implicated in the mechanisms underlying violent behaviors."


"Possible association between serotonin transporter promoter region polymorphism and extremely violent crime in Chinese males," D. L. Liao, C. J. Hong, H. L. Shih, and S. J. Tsai, Neuropsychobiology, Vol. 50, No. 4, 2004, 284-7. Address: D. L. Liao, Department of General Psychiatry, Pali Psychiatric Hospital, Central Taiwan Office, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.

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