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Behav Sci Law. 2010 Mar-Apr;28(2):148-73. doi: 10.1002/bsl.923.

Behavioral genetics in antisocial spectrum disorders and psychopathy: a review of the recent literature.

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  • 1Associate Professor, Saint Louis University Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, 1438 S Grand Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63104, USA.


Behavioral geneticists are increasingly using the tools of molecular genetics to extend upon discoveries from twin, family, and adoption studies concerning the heritability of antisocial spectrum disorders and psychopathy. While there is a substantial body of research concerning antisocial spectrum disorders in the behavioral genetics literature, only a few studies could be located using the phenotype of psychopathy. In this report we summarize some of the recent molecular genetics work concerning antisocial spectrum disorders and psychopathy, with a focus on genes involved in the serotonergic and dopaminergic pathways, while also mentioning some of the novel genetic factors being considered. Monoamine oxidase (MAOA) and the serotonin transporter (5HTT) are reviewed at length, as these genes have received significant scientific attention in recent years and are sites of high biological plausibility in antisocial spectrum disorders and psychopathy.

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