Genetics won't explain Newtown gunman's behavior

DNA doesn't dictate how a person acts on emotions, experts say

In the days after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults inside a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, Connecticut's chief medical examiner said he was seeking "genetic clues" to explain the shooter's behavior.

Dr. H. Wayne Carver II has asked a geneticist at the University of Connecticut to join the investigation into the killings, believing that genetic markers may help explain gunman Adam Lanza's actions.

In an article they co-authored for The Huffington Post last week, David Kaufman, director of research at the Genetics and Public Policy Center at the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University, and Sara Huston Katsanis, a genetic policy researcher at Duke University, wrote that genetics will not explain what occurred in Newtown:

While there may be a genetic component that contributed in some small way to Lanza's psychosis, the notion that genetics somehow may explain the killings is erroneous. Genetics do not determine behavior. Genetics may predispose a person to behave in a certain way, but do not dictate how a person acts on his emotions.

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