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Gene-Based Evolutionary Theories in Criminology

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Gene-Based Evolutionary Theories in Criminology

The gene based evolutionary theory is a theory that to some extent crime is inherited. As we all know there is no crime gene. In fact it would be so much easier if there were a crime gene. Everyone could be tested as a child and we could work with people from a very early age and supply them with counseling to try to control the crime urges. In fact, maybe we could find a vaccine for it. That would be even better and eventually we would virtually be a crime free environment. Yet that isn't the case so what we have here is a theory that basically says criminal behavior is the result of genes, evolution and the social environment.

Logical consistency, scope and parsimony of the theory

The gene based evolutionary theory look at gene based theories centered on crime. This theory takes a broad look at biological issues, such as head injuries, birth complications and toxins. Along with these it also looks at genetic inheritance. This theory has three primary concepts. The first is proposes that crime is somewhat an inherited trait and relies on genetic factors influencing criminal behavior. Second, this theory specifies how biologically factors can lead to criminal behavior. Third, the theory recognized the social environment factors that are related to traits that lead to criminal behavior. This theory believes most people are genetically capable of at least occasionally being deceptive and prone to take advantage of others. I feel the theory is clear, consistent and logical.


Three different types of studies have been done on the gene based theories. There were the twin studies, adoption studies and molecular genetic studies. The twin studies were done with both identical and fraternal twins. Since fraternal twins are only about 50% genetically common one would expect the identical twins to be more alike in crimes. Since this was found to be true one also must look at the fact that the identical twins are normally treated the same, unlike fraternal twins. Adoption studies should show the children carry the same criminal traits as their biological parents. To me this was the most supporting testing since the results did back up this theory. The molecular genetics study looks at differences in genes in relation to body functions and behavior traits. These body functions discussed here are things such as hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Empirical Validity

Twenty percent of criminologist agrees that genetic factors have influences on criminal behavior. Yet they don't believe it is only genetics. The research evidence also looks at and supports the social environment on crime is almost as much of a factor as the genes. The environment issues seem to make sense. Everyone knows criminal



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