The Warrior Gene: Is aggression in your DNA? -

The Warrior Gene: Aggressive traits

About 30 percent of all men carry what's known as "the warrior gene" - a tiny bit of DNA that pre-disposes them to violent behavior. A simple DNA test can identify which men carry the gene, and we put three people to the test to see if their outward personalities match their genetic make-up. 

A simple DNA test to answer the question: Is cold-blooded aggression due to nature, nurture, or both?

One in three men carry the warrior gene, but it's believed that more than half of men in prison have it.   

If you play professional football or you're a combat soldier, what some view as a genetic defect might actually be a benefit. But most experts agree people with this gene feel less empathy for others and are more willing to harm on a whim. 

We had DNA tests conducted on three fairly well-known people in Richmond, Virginia: former Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney and current State Delegate Joe Morrissey, Rev. Andrew Mosley, the well respected and longtime pastor of Quioccasin Baptist Church, and WWBT Reporter Curt Autry.

The test is quite simple. You scrape a few cells from the inside of your cheek, mail it to the lab and within four weeks you get the results. 

Reverend Mosley presides over a church that dates back to the 1870's. His congregation knows him as a kind and gentle soul who preaches compassion --- a man who adamantly believes in turning the other cheek. 

"I feel things can be worked out if we put our minds and hearts together and dialogue, rather than deal with confrontation," he said.

From time to time, reporters have to be more confrontational in their line of work. But quick-tempered and prone to violence? Autry doesn't fit that bill.

On the surface, it would appear Joe Morrissey is the hot head of the test group. He is the hardworking and hugely popular state delegate from the 74th district, but his fits of temper are legendary. In 1992, as Richmond's top prosecutor, he got into a fist fight with opposing counsel in a criminal trial. In 1999 he was sued for throwing a contractor through a glass storm door. These days, he promotes himself to his constituents as "Fightin' Joe Morrissey," but an older, wiser Joe says that violent guy is under control. 

"With respect to hot headedness, you can channel that better and I've probably done better in that category in the last half dozen years or so than I did when I was younger," he said. 

So what are the DNA results?

Reverend Mosley does not have the warrior gene, nor does Autry, the reporter. However, Morrissey's legendary temper turns out to be in his genes.

Even before he received the results, Morrissey saw it coming.

"I wouldn't be surprised with your warrior gene classification," he said. 

And in Joe's case, there's evidence of a family history. One of his ancestors was John "Old Smoke" Morrisey, a heavyweight boxing world champion in 1853. Known as a bare-knuckled bar room brawler, he also served two terms in Congress and later opened a casino in Saratoga, New York.  

Joe says he's in control of his aggression, but acknowledges that it's always there. 

"I would say I'm probably a better person because I've changed some of my focuses and the way I deal with aggression," he said. "[But] 'Fighting Joe' works for me." 

You may be wondering why women weren't included in the test group.

Here's the reason: Women can be carriers of the warrior gene, however, research reveals that those who do show no more violent tendencies than the rest of the female population.  

For more information on these tests:

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Physicians warn against giving melatonin to children

    Physicians warn against giving melatonin to children

    Parents desperate to get their troubled sleepers to bed are turning to synthetic melatonin, which is a supplement sold over the counter. But expert warn it could have adverse effects on child development.
    Many adults turn to sleep aids like melatonin, but now more parents are giving them to their kids, too. We talked to physicians to see what they had to say about how it could affect your child's development.
  • Six deadly foods for dogs

    Six deadly foods for dogs

    Every pet owner knows a dog can get into just about anything around the house. One woman found that out the hard way when her dog ate a bunch of grapes! Turns out, that's one of the most dangerous foods
    Every pet owner knows a dog can get into just about anything around the house. But these common snacks could be fatal for Fido.
  • Mouse droppings cause disease

    Mouse droppings cause respiratory disease

    Mice are one of the most resilient mammals living on the planet. Some people have them as pets, and they're also used in laboratory experiments. If wild mice get inside your house, they can potentially
    If wild mice find a way inside your home, they can potentially cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your drywall and insulation. They can also transmit a harmful disease which can cause death in humans. 
Powered by WorldNow