"I looked at the gene that makes the body's testosterone detector to determine if variations in this detector's sensitivity to the chemical causes people to be more or less aggressive," said Hurd.
Hurd came across a previously published study in India that found violent criminals had genes that made receptors that were very sensitive to the presence of testosterone, so he decided to conduct a similar experiment with volunteers at the U of A.
"Using survey questions and DNA analysis, we came up with exactly the opposite finding from the study done in India," explained Hurd. "In our samples, less sensitive genes indicated more aggressive behaviour, perhaps because the bodies of those people wound up producing more testosterone to compensate."
Hurd said it can be likened to smoke detectors; a less sensitive device requires more smoke in a room than a very sensitive one. Hurd believes that testosterone levels and sensitivity are particularly important during fetal development, particularly since testosterone acts to influence fetal brain development indirectly, through a different receptor after it has been converted to a slightly different chemical. "More or less prenatal testosterone seems to have consequences throughout a person's entire lifetime."
Hurd says there seems to be a link between fetal testosterone and social behaviour, like aggression, in adults, and that the effects of the variation in sensitivity on the levels of fetal testosterone may explain the effect seen.
Hurd says the varying levels of testosterone sensitivity or exposure seen in the U of A volunteers is not related to extremely aggressive or criminal behaviour. "It's not as though these people were unable to physically control their emotions, it's much more subtle than that."
In fact, Hurd says the elevated aggression within this sample of students includes displays of aggression by one person against individuals through use of subtle, "gossip girl" styles of indirect aggression. "That kind of subtle aggression could involve getting back at a perceived enemy by talking to others about them behind their back."
The work of Hurd, Kathryn Vaillancourt and Natalie Dinsdale was published in the journal Behavior Genetics.
Brian Murphy | EurekAlert!
Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh
Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences