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Warrior gene

A version of the primate monoamine oxidase-A gene has been referred to as the warrior gene, initially in monkeys then in humans. Several different versions of the gene are found in different individuals, although a functional gene is present in most humans (except in a few individuals with Brunner syndrome).[1] There is not an additional warrior gene, rather the genotype associated with behavioural traits is shorter (30 bases) and may produce less MAO-A enzyme.[2] The variation in this case is actually in a regulatory promoter region about 1000 bases from the start of the region that encodes the MAO-A enzyme. However, research studies emphasise that behaviour is dependent on both genes and the environment.[3]

In 2006, a New Zealand researcher, Dr Rod Lea said that this variant (or genotype) of monoamine oxidase-A was over-represented in a small sample of current Māori.[4] This supported earlier studies that there are different proportions of variants in different ethnic groups. This is the case for many genetic variants, with 33% White/Non-Hispanic, 61% Asian/Pacific Islanders having the shorter promoter variant of the MAO-A gene.[2] This was subsequently discussed in a number of articles in the New Zealand Medical Journal.[5]

Due to the sensitive political nature of the findings, and the standard peer review process, the research has been heavily scrutinized. Several objections have been raised, such as the small sample size, and the extrapolation of non-Maori studies to the Maori population. In addition, ideological objections were raised, as well as concerns about announcing such findings in the early stages of research.[6][7][8]


  1. ^ MONOAMINE OXIDASE A; MAOA.. Retrieved on 2006-08-14.
  2. ^ a b A functional polymorphism in the monoamine oxidase A gene promoter.. Retrieved on 2006-08-14.
  3. ^ Role of genotype in the cycle of violence in maltreated children.. Retrieved on 2006-08-14.
  4. ^ Maori 'warrior' gene linked to aggression
  5. ^ The New Zealand Medical Journal, March 2007. Retrieved on 2007-09-27.
  6. ^ Maori 'warrior gene' claims appalling, says geneticist
  7. ^ Hui Report 2006, Keynote presentation by Moana Jackson
  8. ^ Warrior genes and risk-taking science
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Warrior_gene". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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