How much can be said about behaviour (future) based on bloodgroup?

How much can be said about behaviour (future) based on bloodgroup?

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My bloodgroup for example is A+. How much information is knowing my bloodgroup? How much information can be known from a blood sample? I expect you to be able to clone if known a complete DNA sequence but how much would I recognize myself from a clone you make from my DNA e.g. behaviour?

The neurological basis of behavior is still unclear, and the genetic basis of behavior is even less clear. What can be said is that genetics may predispose you to certain behaviors, but what the predisposing factors are, and how much they determine your behavior (and how much is due to environmental factors), is unclear. And this varies for different behaviors -- if you want to read more about a particular behavior, you can try looking up the genetics of addiction.

If we want to examine the genetic basis of behavior, I don't think anyone would be looking at blood group, which is due to some physical characteristic that is not obviously linked with behavior (versus a differently structured neurotransmitter receptor, which is possibly more related). It's like using your height to explain your behavior.

EDIT: On cloning: I should also mention that human reproductive cloning has not been successfully attempted, and if it were, you wouldn't get an exact copy of the donor of the genetic material (by the current technologies). The most famous example of reproductive cloning, Dolly the sheep, required more than just nuclear DNA:

Dolly or any other animal created using nuclear transfer technology is not truly an identical clone of the donor animal. Only the clone's chromosomal or nuclear DNA is the same as the donor. Some of the clone's genetic materials come from the mitochondria in the cytoplasm of the enucleated egg. Mitochondria, which are organelles that serve as power sources to the cell, contain their own short segments of DNA. Acquired mutations in mitochondrial DNA are believed to play an important role in the aging process.

The source also has more information about cloning:

Texas must address groundwater future, says expert


Long-term water security is essential for the future of Texas, and the state acutely needs a common law system that can balance world-scale agricultural activity, industrial development and urban growth while also protecting private property rights, according to new research from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy and Texas State University's The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.

The analysis, authored by Gabriel Collins, the Baker Botts Fellow in Energy and Environmental Regulatory Affairs at the Baker Institute, aims to provide a foundation for such discussions.

"Water is an underappreciated and irreplaceable component of the Texas growth model," Collins wrote. "At the same time, significant droughts in the state are a question of 'when,' not 'if.' Water policy can certainly wait until a more sustained supply crunch emerges and then respond reactively. But it is far better to address a known risk in a proactive manner—one that builds in the time and space needed to craft solutions and create the legal, market and physical infrastructure needed to implement them over decades."

Texas groundwater common law is fundamentally based on principles developed in ancient Rome more than a millennium ago, Collins said. It has also been nearly 120 years since the state adopted the "rule of capture," which, as described by the Texas Supreme Court, "essentially allows, with some limited exceptions, a landowner to pump as much groundwater as the landowner chooses, without liability to neighbors who claim that the pumping has depleted their wells."

Since that landmark decision, Texas has grown into one of the largest economies and groundwater users in the world. Data from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization indicate that based on the 1997-2017 median extraction volume, Texas would be the world's 11th-largest groundwater pumper—extracting about 10 million acre-feet of water per year, or slightly less than what Turkey extracts and a bit more than Argentina. For perspective, 1 million acre-feet of water would cover the entire city of Houston roughly knee-deep.

Collins' report draws upon dozens of judicial and legislative decisions taken in 10 other American states that, at various points in the past 150 years, have transitioned from the rule of capture to another groundwater common law doctrine.

Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio and Oklahoma offer a blend of unique and cross-jurisdictional insights that can provide an informed basis for policymakers in Texas, should they choose to update the state's groundwater common law, Collins said. In this group of 10 states, Ohio and Michigan offer especially relevant examples, because each of these states adopted groundwater law doctrines that emphasize an equitable balance between competing uses while still respecting water owners' property rights, he said.

Two of the most serious groundwater management challenges Texas faces are the rule of capture's tendency to create a "tragedy of the commons" and the fact that the rule of capture is interspersed with a largely patchwork groundwater conservation district system that, with a few exceptions, diverges from hydrologic realities, Collins said.

"Dealing effectively with the first issue by updating Texas' groundwater common law could help alleviate broad pressures on groundwater resources in key areas and, in doing so, potentially mitigates the most distortionary aspects of the current groundwater conservation district system," he wrote. "Groundwater common law reform thus reshapes the environment in a way that addresses acute issues posed by unrestrained extraction in areas not covered by groundwater conservation districts, especially those where a restrictive district borders an ungoverned space whose denizens can overpump at the expense of property owners within district boundaries."

New Machine Learning Theory Raises Questions About the Very Nature of Science

A novel computer algorithm, or set of rules, that accurately predicts the orbits of planets in the solar system could be adapted to better predict and control the behavior of the plasma that fuels fusion facilities designed to harvest on Earth the fusion energy that powers the sun and stars.

The algorithm, devised by a scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), applies machine learning, the form of artificial intelligence (AI) that learns from experience, to develop the predictions. “Usually in physics, you make observations, create a theory based on those observations, and then use that theory to predict new observations,” said PPPL physicist Hong Qin, author of a paper detailing the concept in Scientific Reports. “What I’m doing is replacing this process with a type of black box that can produce accurate predictions without using a traditional theory or law.”

Qin (pronounced Chin) created a computer program into which he fed data from past observations of the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and the dwarf planet Ceres. This program, along with an additional program known as a “serving algorithm,” then made accurate predictions of the orbits of other planets in the solar system without using Newton’s laws of motion and gravitation. “Essentially, I bypassed all the fundamental ingredients of physics. I go directly from data to data,” Qin said. “There is no law of physics in the middle.”

PPPL physicist Hong Qin in front of images of planetary orbits and computer code. Credit: Elle Starkman / PPPL Office of Communications

The program does not happen upon accurate predictions by accident. “Hong taught the program the underlying principle used by nature to determine the dynamics of any physical system,” said Joshua Burby, a physicist at the DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory who earned his Ph.D. at Princeton under Qin’s mentorship. “The payoff is that the network learns the laws of planetary motion after witnessing very few training examples. In other words, his code really ‘learns’ the laws of physics.”

Machine learning is what makes computer programs like Google Translate possible. Google Translate sifts through a vast amount of information to determine how frequently one word in one language has been translated into a word in the other language. In this way, the program can make an accurate translation without actually learning either language.

The process also appears in philosophical thought experiments like John Searle’s Chinese Room. In that scenario, a person who did not know Chinese could nevertheless “translate” a Chinese sentence into English or any other language by using a set of instructions, or rules, that would substitute for understanding. The thought experiment raises questions about what, at root, it means to understand anything at all, and whether understanding implies that something else is happening in the mind besides following rules.

Qin was inspired in part by Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom’s philosophical thought experiment that the universe is a computer simulation. If that were true, then fundamental physical laws should reveal that the universe consists of individual chunks of space-time, like pixels in a video game. “If we live in a simulation, our world has to be discrete,” Qin said. The black box technique Qin devised does not require that physicists believe the simulation conjecture literally, though it builds on this idea to create a program that makes accurate physical predictions.

The resulting pixelated view of the world, akin to what is portrayed in the movie The Matrix, is known as a discrete field theory, which views the universe as composed of individual bits and differs from the theories that people normally create. While scientists typically devise overarching concepts of how the physical world behaves, computers just assemble a collection of data points.

Qin and Eric Palmerduca, a graduate student in the Princeton University Program in Plasma Physics, are now developing ways to use discrete field theories to predict the behavior of particles of plasma in fusion experiments conducted by scientists around the world. The most widely used fusion facilities are doughnut-shaped tokamaks that confine the plasma in powerful magnetic fields.

Fusion, the power that drives the sun and stars, combines light elements in the form of plasma — the hot, charged state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei that represents 99% of the visible universe — to generate massive amounts of energy. Scientists are seeking to replicate fusion on Earth for a virtually inexhaustible supply of power to generate electricity.

“In a magnetic fusion device, the dynamics of plasmas are complex and multi-scale, and the effective governing laws or computational models for a particular physical process that we are interested in are not always clear,” Qin said. “In these scenarios, we can apply the machine learning technique that I developed to create a discrete field theory and then apply this discrete field theory to understand and predict new experimental observations.”

This process opens up questions about the nature of science itself. Don’t scientists want to develop physics theories that explain the world, instead of simply amassing data? Aren’t theories fundamental to physics and necessary to explain and understand phenomena?

“I would argue that the ultimate goal of any scientist is prediction,” Qin said. “You might not necessarily need a law. For example, if I can perfectly predict a planetary orbit, I don’t need to know Newton’s laws of gravitation and motion. You could argue that by doing so you would understand less than if you knew Newton’s laws. In a sense, that is correct. But from a practical point of view, making accurate predictions is not doing anything less.”

Machine learning could also open up possibilities for more research. “It significantly broadens the scope of problems that you can tackle because all you need to get going is data,” Palmerduca said.

The technique could also lead to the development of a traditional physical theory. “While in some sense this method precludes the need of such a theory, it can also be viewed as a path toward one,” Palmerduca said. “When you’re trying to deduce a theory, you’d like to have as much data at your disposal as possible. If you’re given some data, you can use machine learning to fill in gaps in that data or otherwise expand the data set.”

Reference: “Machine learning and serving of discrete field theories” by Hong Qin, 9 November 2020, Scientific Reports.
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-76301-0

Golomb remains convinced that lower cholesterol can cause behavioural changes in both men and women

There was even a potential mechanism: lowering the animals’ cholesterol seemed to affect their levels of serotonin, an important brain chemical thought to be involved in regulating mood and social behaviour in animals. Even fruit flies start fighting if you mess up their serotonin levels, but it also has some unpleasant effects in people – studies have linked it to violence, impulsivity, suicide and murder.

If statins were affecting people’s brains, this was likely to be a direct consequence of their ability to lower cholesterol.

Since then, more direct evidence has emerged. Several studies have supported a potential link between irritability and statins, including a randomised controlled trial – the gold-standard of scientific research – that Golomb led, involving more than 1,000 people. It found that the drug increased aggression in post-menopausal women though, oddly, not in men.

In 2018, a study uncovered the same effect in fish. Giving statins to Nile tilapia made them more confrontational and – crucially – altered the levels of serotonin in their brains. This suggests that the mechanism that links cholesterol and violence may have been around for millions of years.

Golomb remains convinced that lower cholesterol, and, by extension, statins, can cause behavioural changes in both men and women, though the strength of the effect varies drastically from person to person. “There are lines of evidence converging,” she says, citing a study she conducted in Sweden, which involved comparing a database of the cholesterol levels of 250,000 people with local crime records. “Even adjusting for confounding factors, it was still the case that people with lower cholesterol at baseline were significantly more likely to be arrested for violent crimes.”.

Fruit flies become more aggressive when their serotonin levels become mixed up, research has shown (Credit: Getty Images)

But Golomb’s most unsettling discovery isn’t so much the impact that ordinary drugs can have on who we are – it’s the lack of interest in uncovering it. “There’s much more of an emphasis on things that doctors can easily measure,” she says, explaining that, for a long time, research into the side-effects of statins was all focused on the muscles and liver, because any problems in these organs can be detected using standard blood tests.

This is something that Dominik Mischkowski, a pain researcher from Ohio University, has also noticed. “There is a remarkable gap in the research actually, when it comes to the effects of medication on personality and behaviour,” he says. “We know a lot about the physiological effects of these drugs – whether they have physical side effects or not, you know. But we don't understand how they influence human behaviour.”

Mischkowski’s own research has uncovered a sinister side-effect of paracetamol. For a long time, scientists have known that the drug blunts physical pain by reducing activity in certain brain areas, such as the insular cortex, which plays an important role in our emotions. These areas are involved in our experience of social pain, too – and intriguingly, paracetamol can make us feel better after a rejection.


A complete blood type would describe each of the 38 blood groups, and an individual's blood type is one of many possible combinations of blood-group antigens. [2] Almost always, an individual has the same blood group for life, but very rarely an individual's blood type changes through addition or suppression of an antigen in infection, malignancy, or autoimmune disease. [3] [4] [5] [6] Another more common cause of blood type change is a bone marrow transplant. Bone-marrow transplants are performed for many leukemias and lymphomas, among other diseases. If a person receives bone marrow from someone who is a different ABO type (e.g., a type A patient receives a type O bone marrow), the patient's blood type will eventually convert to the donor's type.

Some blood types are associated with inheritance of other diseases for example, the Kell antigen is sometimes associated with McLeod syndrome. [7] Certain blood types may affect susceptibility to infections, an example being the resistance to specific malaria species seen in individuals lacking the Duffy antigen. [8] The Duffy antigen, presumably as a result of natural selection, is less common in population groups from areas having a high incidence of malaria. [9]

ABO blood group system Edit

The ABO blood group system involves two antigens and two antibodies found in human blood. The two antigens are antigen A and antigen B. The two antibodies are antibody A and antibody B. The antigens are present on the red blood cells and the antibodies in the serum. Regarding the antigen property of the blood all human beings can be classified into 4 groups, those with antigen A (group A), those with antigen B (group B), those with both antigen A and B (group AB) and those with neither antigen (group O). The antibodies present together with the antigens are found as follows:

  1. Antigen A with antibody B
  2. Antigen B with antibody A
  3. Antigen AB has no antibodies
  4. Antigen nil (group O) with antibody A and B.

There is an agglutination reaction between similar antigen and antibody (for example, antigen A agglutinates the antibody A and antigen B agglutinates the antibody B). Thus, transfusion can be considered safe as long as the serum of the recipient does not contain antibodies for the blood cell antigens of the donor.

The ABO system is the most important blood-group system in human-blood transfusion. The associated anti-A and anti-B antibodies are usually immunoglobulin M, abbreviated IgM, antibodies. It has been hypothesized that ABO IgM antibodies are produced in the first years of life by sensitization to environmental substances such as food, bacteria, and viruses, although blood group compatibility rules are applied to newborn and infants as a matter of practice. [10] The original terminology used by Karl Landsteiner in 1901 for the classification was A/B/C in later publications "C" became "O". [11] Type O is often called 0 (zero, or null) in other languages. [11] [12]

Phenotype and genotype of blood types
Phenotype Genotype
A AA or AI
B BB or BI

Rh blood group system Edit

The Rh system (Rh meaning Rhesus) is the second most significant blood-group system in human-blood transfusion with currently 50 antigens. The most significant Rh antigen is the D antigen, because it is the most likely to provoke an immune system response of the five main Rh antigens. It is common for D-negative individuals not to have any anti-D IgG or IgM antibodies, because anti-D antibodies are not usually produced by sensitization against environmental substances. However, D-negative individuals can produce IgG anti-D antibodies following a sensitizing event: possibly a fetomaternal transfusion of blood from a fetus in pregnancy or occasionally a blood transfusion with D positive RBCs. [13] Rh disease can develop in these cases. [14] Rh negative blood types are much less common in Asian populations (0.3%) than they are in European populations (15%). [15] The presence or absence of the Rh(D) antigen is signified by the + or − sign, so that, for example, the A− group is ABO type A and does not have the Rh (D) antigen.

ABO and Rh distribution by country Edit

As with many other genetic traits, the distribution of ABO and Rh blood groups varies significantly between populations.

Other blood group systems Edit

As of 2019 [update] , 36 blood-group systems have been identified by the International Society for Blood Transfusion in addition to the ABO and Rh systems. [2] Thus, in addition to the ABO antigens and Rh antigens, many other antigens are expressed on the RBC surface membrane. For example, an individual can be AB, D positive, and at the same time M and N positive (MNS system), K positive (Kell system), Le a or Le b negative (Lewis system), and so on, being positive or negative for each blood group system antigen. Many of the blood group systems were named after the patients in whom the corresponding antibodies were initially encountered. Blood group systems other than ABO and Rh pose a potential, yet relatively low, risk of complications upon mixing of blood from different people. [16]

Following is a comparison of clinically relevant characteristics of antibodies against the main human blood group systems: [17]

ABO Rh Kell Duffy Kidd
Naturally occurring Yes No No No No
Most common in immediate hemolytic transfusion reactions A Yes Fy a Jk a
Most common in delayed hemolytic transfusion reactions E,D,C Jk a
Most common in hemolytic disease of the newborn Yes D,C Yes
Commonly produce intravascular hemolysis Yes Yes

Blood transfusion Edit

Transfusion medicine is a specialized branch of hematology that is concerned with the study of blood groups, along with the work of a blood bank to provide a transfusion service for blood and other blood products. Across the world, blood products must be prescribed by a medical doctor (licensed physician or surgeon) in a similar way as medicines.

Much of the routine work of a blood bank involves testing blood from both donors and recipients to ensure that every individual recipient is given blood that is compatible and is as safe as possible. If a unit of incompatible blood is transfused between a donor and recipient, a severe acute hemolytic reaction with hemolysis (RBC destruction), kidney failure and shock is likely to occur, and death is a possibility. Antibodies can be highly active and can attack RBCs and bind components of the complement system to cause massive hemolysis of the transfused blood.

Patients should ideally receive their own blood or type-specific blood products to minimize the chance of a transfusion reaction. It is also possible to use the patient's own blood for transfusion. This is called autologous blood transfusion, which is always compatible with the patient. The procedure of washing a patient's own red blood cells goes as follows: The patient's lost blood is collected and washed with a saline solution. The washing procedure yields concentrated washed red blood cells. The last step is reinfusing the packed red blood cells into the patient. There are multiple ways to wash red blood cells. The two main ways are centrifugation and filtration methods. This procedure can be performed with microfiltration devices like the Hemoclear filter. Risks can be further reduced by cross-matching blood, but this may be skipped when blood is required for an emergency. Cross-matching involves mixing a sample of the recipient's serum with a sample of the donor's red blood cells and checking if the mixture agglutinates, or forms clumps. If agglutination is not obvious by direct vision, blood bank technicians usually check for agglutination with a microscope. If agglutination occurs, that particular donor's blood cannot be transfused to that particular recipient. In a blood bank it is vital that all blood specimens are correctly identified, so labelling has been standardized using a barcode system known as ISBT 128.

The blood group may be included on identification tags or on tattoos worn by military personnel, in case they should need an emergency blood transfusion. Frontline German Waffen-SS had blood group tattoos during World War II.

Rare blood types can cause supply problems for blood banks and hospitals. For example, Duffy-negative blood occurs much more frequently in people of African origin, [20] and the rarity of this blood type in the rest of the population can result in a shortage of Duffy-negative blood for these patients. Similarly, for RhD negative people there is a risk associated with travelling to parts of the world where supplies of RhD negative blood are rare, particularly East Asia, where blood services may endeavor to encourage Westerners to donate blood. [21]

Hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN) Edit

A pregnant woman may carry a fetus with a blood type which is different from her own. Typically, this is an issue if a Rh- mother has a child with a Rh+ father, and the fetus ends up being Rh+ like the father. [22] In those cases, the mother can make IgG blood group antibodies. This can happen if some of the fetus' blood cells pass into the mother's blood circulation (e.g. a small fetomaternal hemorrhage at the time of childbirth or obstetric intervention), or sometimes after a therapeutic blood transfusion. This can cause Rh disease or other forms of hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN) in the current pregnancy and/or subsequent pregnancies. Sometimes this is lethal for the fetus in these cases it is called hydrops fetalis. [23] If a pregnant woman is known to have anti-D antibodies, the Rh blood type of a fetus can be tested by analysis of fetal DNA in maternal plasma to assess the risk to the fetus of Rh disease. [24] One of the major advances of twentieth century medicine was to prevent this disease by stopping the formation of Anti-D antibodies by D negative mothers with an injectable medication called Rho(D) immune globulin. [25] [26] Antibodies associated with some blood groups can cause severe HDN, others can only cause mild HDN and others are not known to cause HDN. [23]

Blood products Edit

To provide maximum benefit from each blood donation and to extend shelf-life, blood banks fractionate some whole blood into several products. The most common of these products are packed RBCs, plasma, platelets, cryoprecipitate, and fresh frozen plasma (FFP). FFP is quick-frozen to retain the labile clotting factors V and VIII, which are usually administered to patients who have a potentially fatal clotting problem caused by a condition such as advanced liver disease, overdose of anticoagulant, or disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

Units of packed red cells are made by removing as much of the plasma as possible from whole blood units.

Clotting factors synthesized by modern recombinant methods are now in routine clinical use for hemophilia, as the risks of infection transmission that occur with pooled blood products are avoided.

Red blood cell compatibility Edit

  • Blood group AB individuals have both A and B antigens on the surface of their RBCs, and their blood plasma does not contain any antibodies against either A or B antigen. Therefore, an individual with type AB blood can receive blood from any group (with AB being preferable), but cannot donate blood to any group other than AB. They are known as universal recipients.
  • Blood group A individuals have the A antigen on the surface of their RBCs, and blood serum containing IgM antibodies against the B antigen. Therefore, a group A individual can receive blood only from individuals of groups A or O (with A being preferable), and can donate blood to individuals with type A or AB.
  • Blood group B individuals have the B antigen on the surface of their RBCs, and blood serum containing IgM antibodies against the A antigen. Therefore, a group B individual can receive blood only from individuals of groups B or O (with B being preferable), and can donate blood to individuals with type B or AB.
  • Blood group O (or blood group zero in some countries) individuals do not have either A or B antigens on the surface of their RBCs, and their blood serum contains IgM anti-A and anti-B antibodies. Therefore, a group O individual can receive blood only from a group O individual, but can donate blood to individuals of any ABO blood group (i.e., A, B, O or AB). If a patient needs an urgent blood transfusion, and if the time taken to process the recipient's blood would cause a detrimental delay, O negative blood can be issued. Because it is compatible with anyone, O negative blood is often overused and consequently is always in short supply. [27] According to the American Association of Blood Banks and the British Chief Medical Officer's National Blood Transfusion Committee, the use of group O RhD negative red cells should be restricted to persons with O negative blood, women who might be pregnant, and emergency cases in which blood-group testing is genuinely impracticable. [27]
Red blood cell compatibility table [28] [29]
Recipient [1] Donor [1]
O− O+ A− A+ B− B+ AB− AB+
O− Y N N N N N N N
O+ Y Y N N N N N N
A− Y N Y N N N N N
A+ Y Y Y Y N N N N
B− Y N N N Y N N N
B+ Y Y N N Y Y N N

Table note
1. Assumes absence of atypical antibodies that would cause an incompatibility between donor and recipient blood, as is usual for blood selected by cross matching.

An Rh D-negative patient who does not have any anti-D antibodies (never being previously sensitized to D-positive RBCs) can receive a transfusion of D-positive blood once, but this would cause sensitization to the D antigen, and a female patient would become at risk for hemolytic disease of the newborn. If a D-negative patient has developed anti-D antibodies, a subsequent exposure to D-positive blood would lead to a potentially dangerous transfusion reaction. Rh D-positive blood should never be given to D-negative women of child-bearing age or to patients with D antibodies, so blood banks must conserve Rh-negative blood for these patients. In extreme circumstances, such as for a major bleed when stocks of D-negative blood units are very low at the blood bank, D-positive blood might be given to D-negative females above child-bearing age or to Rh-negative males, providing that they did not have anti-D antibodies, to conserve D-negative blood stock in the blood bank. The converse is not true Rh D-positive patients do not react to D negative blood.

This same matching is done for other antigens of the Rh system as C, c, E and e and for other blood group systems with a known risk for immunization such as the Kell system in particular for females of child-bearing age or patients with known need for many transfusions.

Plasma compatibility Edit

Blood plasma compatibility is the inverse of red blood cell compatibility. [30] Type AB plasma carries neither anti-A nor anti-B antibodies and can be transfused to individuals of any blood group but type AB patients can only receive type AB plasma. Type O carries both antibodies, so individuals of blood group O can receive plasma from any blood group, but type O plasma can be used only by type O recipients.

Plasma compatibility table [31]
Recipient Donor

Table note
1. Assumes absence of strong atypical antibodies in donor plasma

Rh D antibodies are uncommon, so generally neither D negative nor D positive blood contain anti-D antibodies. If a potential donor is found to have anti-D antibodies or any strong atypical blood group antibody by antibody screening in the blood bank, they would not be accepted as a donor (or in some blood banks the blood would be drawn but the product would need to be appropriately labeled) therefore, donor blood plasma issued by a blood bank can be selected to be free of D antibodies and free of other atypical antibodies, and such donor plasma issued from a blood bank would be suitable for a recipient who may be D positive or D negative, as long as blood plasma and the recipient are ABO compatible. [ citation needed ]

Universal donors and universal recipients Edit

In transfusions of packed red blood cells, individuals with type O Rh D negative blood are often called universal donors. Those with type AB Rh D positive blood are called universal recipients. However, these terms are only generally true with respect to possible reactions of the recipient's anti-A and anti-B antibodies to transfused red blood cells, and also possible sensitization to Rh D antigens. One exception is individuals with hh antigen system (also known as the Bombay phenotype) who can only receive blood safely from other hh donors, because they form antibodies against the H antigen present on all red blood cells. [32] [33]

Blood donors with exceptionally strong anti-A, anti-B or any atypical blood group antibody may be excluded from blood donation. In general, while the plasma fraction of a blood transfusion may carry donor antibodies not found in the recipient, a significant reaction is unlikely because of dilution.

Additionally, red blood cell surface antigens other than A, B and Rh D, might cause adverse reactions and sensitization, if they can bind to the corresponding antibodies to generate an immune response. Transfusions are further complicated because platelets and white blood cells (WBCs) have their own systems of surface antigens, and sensitization to platelet or WBC antigens can occur as a result of transfusion.

For transfusions of plasma, this situation is reversed. Type O plasma, containing both anti-A and anti-B antibodies, can only be given to O recipients. The antibodies will attack the antigens on any other blood type. Conversely, AB plasma can be given to patients of any ABO blood group, because it does not contain any anti-A or anti-B antibodies.

Typically, blood type tests are performed through addition of a blood sample to a solution containing antibodies corresponding to each antigen. The presence of an antigen on the surface of the blood cells is indicated by agglutination. In these tests, rather than agglutination, a positive result is indicated by decolorization as red blood cells which bind to the nanoparticles are pulled toward a magnet and removed from solution.

Blood group genotyping Edit

In addition to the current practice of serologic testing of blood types, the progress in molecular diagnostics allows the increasing use of blood group genotyping. In contrast to serologic tests reporting a direct blood type phenotype, genotyping allows the prediction of a phenotype based on the knowledge of the molecular basis of the currently known antigens. This allows a more detailed determination of the blood type and therefore a better match for transfusion, which can be crucial in particular for patients with needs for many transfusions to prevent allo-immunization. [34] [35]

Blood types were first discovered by an Austrian physician, Karl Landsteiner, working at the Pathological-Anatomical Institute of the University of Vienna (now Medical University of Vienna). In 1900, he found that blood sera from different persons would clump together (agglutinate) when mixed in test tubes, and not only that, some human blood also agglutinated with animal blood. [36] He wrote a two-sentence footnote:

The serum of healthy human beings not only agglutinates animal red cells, but also often those of human origin, from other individuals. It remains to be seen whether this appearance is related to inborn differences between individuals or it is the result of some damage of bacterial kind. [37]

This was the first evidence that blood variation exists in humans. The next year, in 1901, he made a definitive observation that blood serum of an individual would agglutinate with only those of certain individuals. Based on this he classified human bloods into three groups, namely group A, group B, and group C. He defined that group A blood agglutinates with group B, but never with its own type. Similarly, group B blood agglutinates with group A. Group C blood is different in that it agglutinates with both A and B. [38] This was the discovery of blood groups for which Landsteiner was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1930. (C was later renamed to O after the German Ohne, meaning without, or zero, or null. [39] ) The group AB was discovered a year later by Landsteiner's students Adriano Sturli and Alfred von Decastello. [40] [41]

In 1927, Landsteiner, with Philip Levine, discovered the MN blood group system, [42] and the P system. [43] Development of the Coombs test in 1945, [44] the advent of transfusion medicine, and the understanding of ABO hemolytic disease of the newborn led to discovery of more blood groups. As of 2020 [update] , the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT) recognizes 41 blood groups. [2]

A popular pseudoscientific belief in Japan (known as "ketsueki-gata") (血液型) and South Korea [45] is that a person's ABO blood type is predictive of their personality, character, and compatibility with others. [46] Researchers have established no scientific basis exists for blood type personality categorization, and studies have found no "significant relationship between personality and blood type, rendering the theory "obsolete" and concluding that no basis exists to assume that personality is anything more than randomly associated with blood type." [45]

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3. Traits predict general patterns of behavior over time better than single instances of behavior.

Another problem with some of the early personality research was that it often measured a personality trait and then used it to predict a person’s behavior in a single experimental session. But we now know that personality traits are better at predicting long-term behavior patterns.

Suppose that I gave you a personality questionnaire that revealed you to be an extreme extrovert. If I wanted to check how accurate this assessment was, I might follow you to a social event next weekend where I would expect to see you be the life of the party, surrounded by minions who adore you. Imagine my surprise, however, if I were to find you sitting alone in a corner crying in your beer instead.

In a single situation, there are simply too many other factors that might be at play for your personality to determine what happens. Powerful events, such as the death of a dog or being dumped by a boyfriend or girlfriend, can easily overwhelm your natural social inclinations and cause you to behave in ways that are totally out of step with your extroversion.

On the other hand, if I were to follow you to every social event you attended over the next six months, I would likely see your extroversion coming through more often than not, and I would then feel more confident that this trait does indeed exert influence over your behavior.

4. More specific situations make traits better predictors.

For most of my adult life, I have owned a dog. I frequently walk my dog around town and on the college campus where I work, and I am regularly approached by people who are interested in meeting the dog. One of the most common questions that I am asked is: “Is your dog friendly?”

This can be a tricky question to answer, because it is not specific enough. Some individuals want to know if my dog will try to bite them if they pet it others want to know if they should be prepared for the dog to jump up on them and lick their faces. Sometimes, people just want to know if my dog is friendly with other dogs, and if our two dogs are likely to get into a fight if we let them get too close together. Hence, I cannot answer the question very easily unless I know exactly what situation my new acquaintance is interested in.

This conclusion will make perfect sense to most of my readers, as you are well aware that you often act differently in social situations with friends as opposed to relatives or strangers. Thus, your prediction as to how you will behave will be more accurate if you can place it in a specific context.

In short, the evidence is that personality traits can be good predictors of behavior—as long as we understand the constraints that they operate under.

Predicting behavior over longer periods of time and in precise situations will be best, especially if we are using very specific measures of traits that a person scores extremely high or low on. This means that different traits make for better predictors for different people. A trait that is important for predicting your own behavior is referred to as a “self-schematic trait,” while traits that are less relevant for you are known as “aschematic traits.”

And always remember that no matter how good a personality trait may potentially be as a predictor, it can still be overpowered by strong factors in a situation.

Taking ADvantage The Sociological Basis of Greed

For further readings, I suggest going to the Media and Communications Studies website.

Greed has a strong biological basis. However, it has an even stronger social basis. This sets it somewhat apart from self-preservation and reproduction. To examine greed and how it fits into human sociology, we need to start from the beginning.

The definition of greed is an extreme or excessive desire for resources, especially for property such as money, real estate, or other symbols of wealth. Here we run into two problems: defining excessive, and defining wealth, especially in terms of human psychology.

In basic terms, "excessive" is possessing something to such a degree it's harmful. For example, excessive drinking leads to falling down a lot and hating yourself in the morning. Excessive eating leads to bellyaches and obesity. Excessive speed leads to cliff edges and telephone poles. These are aspects that most people would agree are harmful.

However, all these things are harmful only to the individual. How could a desire for wealth be harmful? Every person needs a degree of wealth to survive: you need to buy food, pay the rent, get clothing, transportation, haircuts, cable TV. Without money (a symbol of wealth, or rather a transportable symbol of resources necessary to survival) you could starve or freeze to death, something that is definitely harmful. In addition, the more wealth you have, the better the quantity and/or quality of the things it brings you can get. Again, how could a desire for wealth, and thus the things it gets you, be harmful?

The answer lies in the fact that humans are social and cultural animals, not just individuals. Although for the individual greed (a strong desire for wealth) is good, the social group that individual belongs to may think greed is bad for rher. Note I say "bad for rher" -- not necessarily bad for the society or the culture or the group, but for rher, which is as good an opening as I can think of for going into the history of greed.

Once upon a time there was a little single-cell organism. We'll call it Herman. Herman spent its life wandering aimlessly around its waterdrop , dreaming little one-cell dreams and searching for even littler one-cell food. One day Herman, who had been getting rather fat, suddenly felt itself torn asunder and became two Hermettes (meaning "little Hermans"). The Hermettes thought this was a good idea, and realized that getting fat would result in even more Hermettes. Thus the Hermettes strove to get more food and become fat Hermans, and become Hermettes, who also strove to get more food, and become fat Hermans, etc., etc., etc..

Soon the water drop, and surrounding water drops, and large chunks of ocean, were filled with Hermans and Hermettes, all gulping down (metaphorically speaking, since they didn't have throats) every piece of food they could find. In other words, they were greedy, ensuring their own survival and ability to reproduce by devouring everything they could find that would result in more Hermettes.

Herman, and its descendants, and their descendants, kept this up for a couple of billion years, greedily grasping for those resources that ensured personal and genetic survival.

Eventually, some of Herman's descendants discovered that they could cope with conditions better is they found a way to evolve faster and weed out mutations that got in the way of survival. They developed sex.

Finally, Herman's descendants were greedily gulping fruits, nuts, berries, and anything else that came to a paw that was becoming a hand. Several of them had banded together to form a mutual nonaggression pact. Among them were Oog and Ugh, who were hoping to have a little Ugly of their own. Reaching for another apple, Oog suddenly had her protohand slapped. Popping the offended member in her mouth, she looked askance at her attacker. Aagh pointed to her own little Yugh, who was looking thin and hungry. Oog looked, then back-protohanded Aagh off the branch, took the apple, and scarfed it down. The rest of the band, observing this subtle interplay of diplomatic reasoning, decided that such selfishness required discussion. However, since they hadn't yet evolved language, they simply beat up Oog, and for good measure Ugh, with a few swipes at Aagh for having started the whole mess. Then they sent Oog and Ugh forth to go and sin with some other group but leave us alone.

Such discouragement discouraged Oog and Ugh, but they knew deep down that the more resources they collected and kept for themselves, they better off they, and when Ugly came along, all three of them would be. They competed for resources better than others, passed on more of their own genes, and in general became human beings.

However, human beings are gregarious creatures, wishing to band into mutual admiration societies and avoid inbreeding. We get together for protection, for support, to share the work necessary for survival, and to have someone to talk to.

In addition, the resources important to humans changed. No longer was it simply food in order to get and keep the strength to procreate. Now there were other things, like land to grow food, and money to buy food, and pottery to store food, and methods such as ships and caravans and trading and military conquest to get food. Eventually, the food was not the end result desired -- the means to the end became the end itself.

The real problem arose when the population increased and the possible wealth became limited. There was only so much land and money and other resources to go around. Thus, for one person to amass a lot of wealth, rhe had to reduce what somebody else could get. This created conflict in the society between the haves and have-nots, the go-getters and the no-getters.

The purpose of a society is to reduce conflict between the members of that society. The society creates laws, religions, government, whatever will allow people to get along without fighting each other in response to their biological urges. Thus, there are laws and religious proscriptions against murder to keep people from killing each other and thus weakening the society's ability to support itself and the people in it. There are laws and religious proscriptions against infidelity to keep men from killing each other and enslaving women so men can be sure of their paternity (a biological imperative -- a male doesn't want to waste his resources and care on genes that aren't his (Daly, 1983), and men are male).

To reduce the conflict greed could create, societies, through their laws and religions, said that an extreme desire for wealth was harmful to the society since it concentrated too many resources in too few hands. Thus greed was decreed and decried as excessive and harmful, and proscribed.

The ancient proscriptions were to avoid societal conflicts. The proscriptions were also often easy to follow when people were nomadic. They had to carry everything they owned around with them, and thus there was little desire to accumulate things that would simply increase the burden. For example, the !Kung people of Africa have lived this nomadic life for centuries and have few material possessions. (Leakey, 1978)

The desire for wealth is especially apparent in those cultures descended from or adhering to the Western European tradition of "progress" and "growth", a legacy of the eras of scientific discovery and world exploration. The former led people to believe that they could know everything, the latter increased what they knew and opened the world to trade.

Trade became a major factor in European life after the Black Death, a plague that killed three-fourths of Europe 's population in the 14th Century. This massive decrease in the work force had three results. First, the end of the feudal system, since the serfs, their numbers now low and thus their value as a workforce now high, could now demand wages for their labor. Second, a surplus of goods and food since the number of consumers was so low. And third, a sudden increase in personal wealth as people inherited the belongings of all their relatives that had died. These three factors led to a greater sense of individualism and a decline in spiritual and intellectual interests in favor of material interests. (Burke, 1985)

With the new high-demand products, such as spices, tea and silk, made available by world exploration, trade and exploitation of markets became the goals of European societies and individuals in those societies. This continues to this day. The standard of living for the members of societies practicing such materialism gives them a major advantage over those people and societies that don't. They can gather more resources, live longer, raise more children in better conditions that can pass on their parents' and ancestors' genes, and generally outstrip any competition that doesn't practice greed.

Today, because of the standard of living materialism provides those who follow the idea that some is good, more is better, too much is just right, much of the world "goes for the gold". Thus, although legal and religious proscriptions against greed have been in effect and given at least lip service for millennia, the fact remains that, as it was for Oog and Ugh, deep down inside people believe "greed is good". It might be disguised as capitalism, expanding the range of possibilities, or enlightened self-interest, but deep down inside it's greed.(1)

Why then, if greed is not only biologically desirable but socially and societally desirable as well, does greed have such a bad name? It goes back to the fact that humans are social and cultural animals, not just individuals.

Remember that greed is a valuable trait for the individual. It makes rher fight for a larger piece of the pie, a good idea from a biological point of view. However, since humans are social creatures, and greed says that an individual should take more than rher own share, greed creates social conflict, as those who lose out resent those who win more than an even share. Those that are particularly greedy (read, particularly good at getting larger pieces of pies) are particularly resented. Recall Donald Trump and Leona Helmsley : many people cheered their downfalls. After all, who did they think they were? Besides successful, rich, competent, and capable. They were also manipulative, vain, egotistical and arrogant. However, how many people would, if they were honest, have changed places with them in a second, at least while the Donald and Leona were at their peak? Why are lotteries and sweepstakes so successful? Why do Reno and Las Vegas attract millions of people to their casinos? Because, no matter how much it is decried, people are greedy: they all want more than they have, the more more the better.

The thing to bear in mind is that "greed is good." That is, it's good for the individual, but perhaps not for the society in which that individual lives. Unrestrained greed in an individual can lead to callousness, arrogance, and even megalomania. A person dominated by greed will often ignore the harm their actions can cause others. Sweat shops, unsafe working conditions and destruction of livelihoods are all consequences of people whose personal greed overcame their social consciences.

However, even a society that bans individual greed can suffer. It is greed that makes people want to do things, since they will be rewarded for their efforts. Remove that reward, and you remove the incentive to work. The former Soviet Union provides an example of this: the collective farms provided no individual incentive to strive, and thus produced an insufficient supply of food. The individually owned and run truck farms, however, with the possibility of selling the produce and keeping the proceeds, grew a far greater harvest per acre than the collective farms. The "greed" of American farmers has allowed them to grow food for the world, since the more they produce the more money they make.

Nonetheless, however you regard it, unrestrained greed is detrimental to society unrestrained disapproval of greed is detrimental to society. People attempt to find a balance between biological imperative and social necessity.


Although there is a strong biological basis for human behavior, humans are the most social creatures on earth. The societies and cultures we create have a major effect on our behavior, mollifying and modifying our biological reactions.

Self-preservation extends beyond the personal to the public, involving family, friends, and even strangers. What may help our personal survival may help others, who may help us in turn.

Humans, reproducing sexually, have all the biological urges that other animals have. However, our complex societies and cultures have altered our reproductive strategies. Social factors, in particular women's, have become so important that they are a guiding rather than an ancillary consideration in mate selection. Strength and fighting skill in men have taken second place to power, money, and status. Although the former may be necessary to success in the biological world, the latter are necessary to success in human society. And in the last several thousand years, society rather than biology has become the driving force of human life.

Equally, human social life has radically altered the need to gather resources to live and reproduce. The need for food, water or shelter is biological -- a lack results in death. However, human society has changed how and why resources are gathered. The biological necessity is the same: humans need to eat, drink, sleep, stay out of the rain. But society has developed a way to transport current resources into the future for use in that future -- money. Thus, humans seek money.

Appeals to the human psyche must take not only biology but society into account. Society is the driving force behind much of human behavior.


(1) This note is contained in the Comments Page -- Comments on Greed in the Modern World

It Is a Matter of Empirical Evidence

Payal Naik Northwestern University

Pizzurro presents a valid and convincing argument in her analysis of behaviorism. However, there are some problems in her critique. She clearly shows her preference for the cognitive approach in personality psychology by blasting behaviorism for its failure to acknowledge the contents of the black box. Yet, at the same time she fails to show why the content is so important. Her entire argument is based on the assumption that all people accept the free will inherent in humans.

Although this may be true for those who believe in cognitive psychology, this is not necessarily true for all people. For example, there are religions that believe very strongly in destiny and fate, which seem to negate the concept of free will. For these people, the importance of the content of the black box, which Pizzurro finds so essential, may not be as obvious. Thus, in order to make her argument stronger, she needs empirical evidence for the importance of the content of the black box, the free will she claims is inherent in all human beings.

Without cognitive empirical evidence and with the behavioral empirical evidence she presents, her argument for cognitive psychology over behavioral psychology becomes subjective. In other words, her preference for cognitive psychology is not because it is right but because it is what she wants to believe. Maybe it is what she has been behaviorally conditioned by her environment to believe.

Debating Genetics as a Predictor of Criminal Offending and Sentencing

Since the beginning of criminological research there has been an ongoing debate on the correlation between genetic characteristics and criminal behavior. There have been numerous studies and experiments conducted to help eliminate some of the unknowns related to the field of biological criminology and genetics. Genetic mutations have been disregarded as a consideration when developing guidelines for the causes of criminal behavior and determining the level of violence involved.

Recent studies in behavioral genetics indicate that some violent criminals are genetically predisposed to violent behavior. One study has found that a mutation in the structural gene for monoamine oxidase A gives rise to an acute build-up of neurotransmitters associated with the body&rsquos &lsquofight or flight&rsquo responses to stressful situations (Evansburg 2001). Many criminologists do not totally disregard genetic characteristics as a means of determining who will commit crimes but they do believe that &ldquoa genetic disorder may predispose an individual to aggressive behavior [but] cannot cause that individual to commit a violent crime&rdquo (Evansburg 2001).

Criminologists who once believed that genetics was a sole indication that would dictate a person&rsquos criminal tendencies are now being discounted as more recent and logical studies are being conducted. In many cases these outdated data are being looked upon as being bad or biased research. As the popularity of the idea of using genetics as a means of predicting criminal behavior has decreased, the realization that genetics may in fact play a role in criminal offending is on the increase. &ldquoMendel established the foundations for modern genetics in a paper that was ignored for 35 years.&rdquo

This idea does not necessarily afford criminologists the ability to determine from birth whether or not a person is going to be a delinquent youth or even a criminal offender later in life. It does, however, pose the question of to what degree of impact, if any, a person&rsquos genetic makeup has on their likelihood of becoming criminal. Some criminologists indicate that genetics have little to no affect on criminal behavior but rather estimated levels of self-control identify potential criminal behavior.

For instance, &ldquoGottfredson and Hirschi (1990, p.97) are clear in their assertion that &lsquoineffective child rearing&rsquo is the &lsquomajor&rsquo cause of low self-control&rdquo (Unnever, Cullen, and Pratt, 2003). Gottfredson and Hirschi clearly downplay the possibility that low self-control has a genetic/biological component. For example, after careful analysis of adoption studies, they argue that this research provided &ldquostrong evidence that the inheritance of criminality is minimal . . . We conclude that the &lsquogenetic effect&rsquo . . . is near zero&rdquo (p. 60). Unnever, Cullen, and Pratt (2003) examine the impact of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on self-control and delinquency and reviewed Gottfredson and Hirschi&rsquos general theory of crime.

Some criminologists argue that certain body types were not only associated with, but actually responsible for, the development of specific personality styles and temperaments (Walters and White). This would mean that the mere physical structure of a person&rsquos body could predict whether or not that person was a criminal offender or was going to become one later in life. However, many criminologists who believe that the genetic make up of a person is a positive predictor to criminal behavior admit that it involves more than just simply looking at a person and labeling them as a criminal.

Genetics is a give and take subject when dealing with criminology. According to research conducted by Walters and White, genetic factors are undoubtedly correlated with various measures of criminality. They also go on to say that genetic research on crime must be better organized theoretically and until methodological improvements are made and a coherent theoretical framework found . . . little progress is anticipated in the effort to determine whether genes play a meaningful role in the evolution of criminal behavior.

Those who feel as if people with genetic disorders and mutations are inferior to the rest of the human race associate themselves with Eugenic theories. Eugenicist criminologists such as Earnest A. Hooton believed that the elimination of people who have unfavorable genetic characteristics would improve the human species. Hooton also believed that criminals belonged to a class of hereditary degenerates. Those who endorse eugenics consider themselves superior to the dysgenic they must be able to identify (but not identify with) the inferiors whom they hold responsible for social problems (Rafter, 2004).

For the most part eugenic criminology existed during the nineteenth century but gradually began to diminished in popularity soon after. In recent years however, the idea of genetics and biological criminology has started to reemerge and have a presence in modern research studies. Akers (1994) examined the relationship between &ldquobiology&rdquo and crime and concluded that the evidence supporting such a link was weak (Wood et al, 1997).

Depression has long been a focal point of criminological research. Criminologists have been asking the question of whether or not depression has a direct affect on a person&rsquos likelihood of participating in criminal behavior. Once this question has been asked, it poses a new question is depression inherited through genetics? Strain theorists like Robert Agnew, claim that law violation helps reduce depression by serving as a coping mechanism. This concept would classify depression as a disorder brought on by and controlled by external conditions, disregarding the idea of depression as a genetic, or internal, characteristic. &ldquoPsychologists have proposed a link between antisocial behavior and theoretical physiological systems within the brain that are presumed to modulate impulse expression&rdquo (Gray, 1977), shedding new light on the psychological, internal characteristics behind aggressive and non-aggressive criminal behavior. &ldquoResearchers at Johns Hopkins University . . . have reported highly aggressive behavior in mice that were genetically engineered to lack the brain chemical nitric acid synthase (nNOS) . . . the nNOS deficient mice initiated three to four times as many aggressive encounters as normal mice, and displayed only one-tenth as much submissive behavior as normal mice&rdquo (Evansburg, 2001).

When a researcher uses terms such as &ldquonormal&rdquo in data collected through an experiment, it always opens the results to criticism and questions are raised as to what is meant by &ldquonormal.&rdquo One&rsquos idea of what is &ldquonormal&rdquo is often drastically different than another&rsquos, resulting in confusion and lack of confidence in the reliability of the research.

Some arguments concerning the correlation between genetics and criminal behavior have been spurred by unfounded claims. Criminologists have gone so far as to argue that racial and ethnic characteristics can predict whether or not a person will be criminally active. These statements are typically derived from studying statistical data collected from various sources. Social structure theorists counter these claims by saying these data are inconclusive on the grounds that members of ethnic and racial minority groups and members of lower class society, are more likely to be arrested for the same crimes that are committed by those who are white and members of upper class society.

&ldquoBlacks and Hispanics who had been stopped [by police] were more likely than were whites to report that they had been ticketed, arrested, handcuffed, or searched by police officers, and they were also more likely to say that officers had threatened or used force against them&rdquo (Weitzer and Tuch, 2002). These types of research are usually based on quantitative rather than qualitative research, which is more likely to create biased results from the researcher conducting the study. Using race and ethnicity to argue that genetics is directly correlated to criminal behavior has been viewed as a naive and inadequate conclusion and regarded among many criminologists as unreliable sources for collecting scientific data.

The number of criminologist that do not believe that a person&rsquos genetic characteristics have a significant enough impact to be seriously considered when predicting criminal behavior have always outnumbered those who do believe genetics plays a significant role. In the case of Gottfredson and Hirschi, they adamantly deny that biology exerts any direct effect on criminal behavior, saying that &ldquocorrelations between biology and crime&hellip if statistically significant would be substantively trivial, and [there is] strong evidence that the inheritance of criminality is minimal [and any] &lsquogenetic effect&rsquo is near zero&rdquo (Cauffman et al, 2005).

On the other hand, deficits in the medial and lateral areas of the prefrontal lobe [which can be a genetic mutation] are frequently observed among subjects with disruptive behavior disorders, such as conduct disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This indicates that there is both direct and indirect evidence that problematic frontal lobe functioning is linked to disruptive behavior disorders in childhood and delinquent and criminal behavior in adolescence and adulthood (Cauffman et al, 2005).

Studies of criminal behavior among current and former mental health patients have been a way for biological criminologists to earn recognition in the growing field of criminology. As with any theory associated with criminological studies there are always multiple viewpoints on explaining those theories. Biological criminologists assert that criminal behavior is spawned from a lack of mental capacity. Others feel that even after mental illness is taken into account parental and positive social bonds can help prevent criminal behavior, turning an otherwise genetic or biological theory into a sociological theory creating a whole new list of arguments. Is criminal behavior inherited from parents or is it learned through observation and early childhood exposure to such behavior what makes a person commit crime? This question has been the most asked question among criminologists since criminology came into existence. Many believe that that question still has not been, and may never be, sufficiently answered.

Criminologists who are fans of rational choice theories claim that participating in criminal behavior is a rational, coherent choice that is made by the offender and has nothing to do with the offender&rsquos genetic characteristics. &ldquoRational choice theories of crime emerged for the purpose of explaining criminal behavior as a function of expected reward and punishment, weighted by the subjective probability of detection&rdquo (Piliavin et al 1986). Examining the external factors that motivate human behavior is a common practice among rational choice criminologists. Crime is encouraged or discouraged by external forces rather than internal genetically dictated factors.

Using data from the Gluecks&rsquo longitudinal study of Boston Males, Sampson and Laub found that the effect of childhood antisocial behavior on adolescent delinquency was largely mediated by changes in family management practices (Simons 1998). According to Maccoby and Martin (1993) past research has established that effective parents show warmth and support, monitor their child&rsquos behavior, engage in consistent discipline, and eschew harsh punishments (Simons 1998). As Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) emphasize, low self-control in childhood is the individual-level cause of crime. They also state that low self-control develops from inattentive and lax parental supervision, making children unable to resist the momentary temptations of wrongdoing. &ldquoIndividuals with low self-control fit poorly into conventional society, and so they end up in weakened or broken social relationships&rdquo (Entner Wright et al, 1999). This theory, too discounts the idea of genetics being a cause or indicator of criminal behavior altogether. According to this theory of Gottfredson and Hirschi, criminal behavior is caused solely by sociological factors rather than biological factors.

Deterrence theory disregards genetic consideration altogether, claiming that the fear of punishment deters people from committing crimes. &ldquoThose who believe crime is wrong and who express greater fear of informal sanctions are less likely to engage in delinquent activity&rdquo (Bishop 1984). While not accepting completely that genetics cause crime, general strain theory does recognize a correlation between the crime committed and the offender&rsquos genetic traits. The incorporation of such traits represents integration between strain theory and the rapidly growing research on behavioral genetics and crime (Walsh 2000).

The argument of genetics has played a major role in the way criminal offenders are tried and sentenced. Evansburg writes that while evidence of a genetic predisposition to violent behavior may potentially be significant, it would be imprudent, as well as politically infeasible, to allow genetic determinism to substitute for the assumptions of free will in the criminal law. She also says that the law must proceed with caution as it attempts to incorporate new genetic discoveries into traditional legal doctrine. When using genetics as a defense, the accused must be able to prove, without a doubt, that their criminal actions were directly related to the genetic disorder that they suffer from. This would be a very difficult burden to prove for the defense and would likely be a weak and unsuccessful course of action considering the relatively new idea of the relationship between criminal behavior and genetic makeup.

The problem with using genetics as a defense in criminal trials is the fact that many times a specific genetic mutation is family specific. A genetic mutation may be present in one family and may only be found in a very small number of other families or individuals. Therefore, there would have to be expert testimony and examination to ensure that the genetic mutation in question was scientific knowledge, and would be inadmissible in court otherwise. &ldquoIf evidence of a genetic predisposition to violence is adequately substantiated through further research, the Sentencing Commission should implement a new policy statement authorizing judges to impose reduced sentences for violent offenders who successfully demonstrate a genetic predisposition to violence&rdquo (Evansburg, 2001).

In 1992, Bruce G. Link, Howard Andrews, and Francis T. Cullen asked the question, &ldquoDo mental patients and former mental patients have higher rates of violent and illegal behavior than non-patients and can any differences that exist be explained by factors other than mental illness?&rdquo In their research they found that the simple assertion that mental patients and former mental patients are on average no more dangerous than non-patients is incorrect. They also say that the connection between psychotic symptoms and violence underscores the need to implement policy initiatives that insure effective treatments for people who develop psychotic symptoms. On the other hand they conclude that while the fact that psychotic symptoms explained differences between mental patients and never treated residents in recent violence, this does not mean that psychotic symptoms are a potential source of violent behavior in our society.

&ldquoA fundamental principle of the American criminal justice system is that punishment for a crime should be proportional to the blameworthiness of the individual who committed that crime&rdquo (Evansburg, 2001). Assertions such as this argue that not all criminals are created equal and not all criminal offenders should receive the same punishment for the same crime based solely on genetic makeup and mental capacity. People who commit crimes and are proven to be mentally incapable of discerning between right and wrong should be judged and sentenced using less harsh tactics as in the case of a &ldquonormal,&rdquo mentally sound individual.

A genetic predisposition toward violence that significantly impairs the ability to control behavior is an unforeseen circumstance in which the United States Sentencing Commission affords a judge the authority to impose individual sentences when they deem justified. Evansburg (2001) also points out the fact that the guidelines set by the Sentencing Commission purport to serve justice by imposing similar sentences for similar crimes but when similar acts of violence are committed by individuals with dissimilar capacities for self-control, justice is not served by assigning them equal blame, and thus, equal punishment. If two offenders with different genetic characteristics commit the same crime, the responsibilities of the two offenders would be different and their sentences should reflect that difference.

Most sociological criminologists however, would argue that these types of defenses to criminal offending are merely a means of &ldquobeating&rdquo the system and that crime is crime and should hold the same severity of punishment for all whom commit a particular crime.


Agnew, Robert, Timothy Brezina, John Paul Wright, and Francis T. Cullen. &ldquoStrain, Personality Traits, and Delinquency: Extending General Strain Theory.&rdquo Criminology 40.1 (2002): 41.

Caspi, Avshalom, Terrie E. Moffitt, Phil A. Silva, and Robert F. Krueger. &ldquoAre Some People Crime-Prone? Replications of The Personality-Crime Relationship Across Countries, Genders, Races, and Methods.&rdquo Criminology 32.2 (May 1994): 163.

Cauffman, Elizabeth, Lawrence Steinberg, and Alex R. Piquero. &ldquoPsychological, Neuropsychological and Physiological Correlates of Serious Antisocial Behavior in Adolescence: The Role of Self-Control.&rdquo Criminology 43.1 (Feb. 2005): 133.

De Coster, Stacy and Karen Heimer. &ldquoThe Relationship Between Law Violation and Depression: An Interactionist Analysis.&rdquo Criminology 39.4 (Nov. 2001): 799.

Entner Wright, Bradley R., Avshalom Caspi, Terrie E. Moffitt, and Phil A. Silva. &ldquoLow Self-Control, Social Bonds, and Crime: Social Causation, Social Selection, or Both?&rdquo Criminology 37.3 (Aug. 1999): 479.

Evansburg, Amanda R. &ldquo&rsquoBut Your Honor, It&rsquos in His Genes&rsquo The Case For Genetic Impairments as Grounds For a Downward Departure Under The Federal Sentencing Guidelines.&rdquo The American Criminal Law Review 38.4 (Fall 2001): 1565.

Hechter, Michael and Satoshi Kanazawa. &ldquoSociological Rational Choice Theory.&rdquo Annual Review of Sociology Vol. 23 (1997): 191.

Link, Bruce G., Howard Andrews, and Francis T. Cullen. &ldquoThe Violent and Illegal Behavior of Mental Patients Reconsidered.&rdquo American sociological Review 57.3 (Jun. 1992): 275-92.

Rafter, Nicole. &ldquoEarnest A. Hooton and The Biological Tradition in American Criminology.&rdquo Criminology 42.3 (Aug. 2004): 735.

Walters, Glenn D., and Thomas W. White. &ldquoHeredity and Crime: Bad Genes or Bad Research?&rdquo Criminology 27.3 (1989): 455.

Weitzer, Ronald and Steven A Tuch. &ldquoPerceptions of Racial Profiling: Race, Class, and Personal Experience.&rdquo Criminology 40.2 (May 2002): 435.

Wood, Peter B., Walter R. Gove, James A. Wilson, and John K. Cochran. &ldquoNonsocial Reinforcement and Habitual Criminal Conduct: An Extension of Learning Theory.&rdquo Criminology 35.2 (May 1997): 335.

Agnew, Robert, Timothy Brezina, John Paul Wright, and Francis T. Cullen. &ldquoStrain, Personality Traits, and Delinquency: Extending General Strain Theory.&rdquo Criminology 40.1 (2002): 41.

Caspi, Avshalom, Terrie E. Moffitt, Phil A. Silva, and Robert F. Krueger. &ldquoAre Some People Crime-Prone? Replications of The Personality-Crime Relationship Across Countries, Genders, Races, and Methods.&rdquo Criminology 32.2 (May 1994): 163.

Cauffman, Elizabeth, Lawrence Steinberg, and Alex R. Piquero. &ldquoPsychological, Neuropsychological and Physiological Correlates of Serious Antisocial Behavior in Adolescence: The Role of Self-Control.&rdquo Criminology 43.1 (Feb. 2005): 133.

De Coster, Stacy and Karen Heimer. &ldquoThe Relationship Between Law Violation and Depression: An Interactionist Analysis.&rdquo Criminology 39.4 (Nov. 2001): 799.

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The 'Gay Gene' Is A Myth But Being Gay Is 'Natural,' Say Scientists

The news this week that the largest study of its kind failed to confirm the existence of a "gay gene" is not so much a disappointment for those looking to understand the LGBTQ community, as it is an acknowledgement that science does not need to tell us what should be plainly obvious: gays, lesbians, bisexuals and pansexuals are who they are.

T he study by Andrea Ganna, lead author and European Molecular Biology Laboratory group leader at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Finland, said the research reinforces the understanding that same-sex sexual behavior is simply “a natural part of our diversity as a species.”

For LGBTQ advocates, that word "natural" cannot be overstressed. "Natural" means being gay is not a choice.

But here's the quote that will delight opponents of LGBTQ rights, some of whom insist they can "convert" gay people to choose to be straight by praying the gay away:

"There is no ‘gay gene’ that determines whether someone has same-sex partners,” said Ganna, who is also a geneticist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard as well as the University of Helsinki.

Ganna's research revealed there are a number of genetic variations that can influence sexual behavior, even though the paper published today in the Journal Science doesn’t name the ingredients for what exactly causes a human being to deviate from the most common form of sexual orientation: heterosexuality.

As the Washington Post first reported Thursday, the scientists conducted this study by collecting DNA from more than 470,000 people.

“The study is a big step forward because of its huge size,” J. Michael Bailey, a N orthwestern University psychologist with experience in genetics, told Science News. Bailey was not a part of this study.

Those hundreds of thousands of participants were found within two huge genetic databases: the home DNA testing company 23andMe, t he UK Biobank, as well as from three smaller studies. Volunteers answered questions about how many sexual partners they have had, and what kinds of sex they had had. 23andMe customers were asked what they found attractive in a sexual partner, about their sexual identity and their sexual fantasies.

The researchers' analysis identified five genes which are clearly connected with same-sex sexual attraction. While the variations in these genes are not enough to raise a rainbow flag and label anyone as unquestionably gay, the researchers say these biological variants may at the very least partly influence sexual behavior.

One was discovered in a chain of DNA which includes several genes related to the sense of smell another one of the genes is related to male pattern baldness, which the authors said could suggest that sex hormone regulation may somehow be involved.

“There’s a lot of room for nongenetic effects,” Bailey told Science News. C oauthor Benjamin Neale, a geneticist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the Broad Institute, agreed. The study, he said, makes clear both biology and one’s environment may be a factor that influences sexuality. What does he mean by "environmental"? A range of experiences in a person's development as well as social and cultural factors that all could affect behavior, Neale said.

Whether Bailey's "nongenetic" critique is fair isn't the point, said coauthor J. Fah Sathirapongsasuti, a computational biologist at 23andMe in Mountain View, Calif.

“Just because something is not completely genetic or something has an environmental, or what we call nongenetic, component," said Sathirapongsasut, "doesn’t mean it’s a choice.”

GLAAD's Zeke Stokes went one better.

This new research, he said “provides even more evidence that being gay or lesbian is a natural part of human life, a conclusion that has been drawn by researchers and scientists time and again. The identities of LGBTQ people are not up for debate. This new research also reconfirms the long established understanding that there is no conclusive degree to which nature or nurture influence how a gay or lesbian person behaves.”

Genetics cannot tell "the whole story," as Eric Vilain, director of the Center for Genetic Medicine Research at Children’s National Health System, told the Post, about what "makes" somebody gay. But even if people are not "Born This Way," as Lady Gaga sang, at last now we can join Gloria Gaynor in singing, "I Am What I Am."


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