Genes: The Thrill of Life?

2010/10/13
By Gabriela

Photo credits: Doug Blane

Have you ever wondered why some people seek thrills? Or what makes people act this way?  Recent studies, such as the one described in this article, have shown that the reason for said behavior may be hidden in your genes.

Jaime Derringer has been testing specific genes with mutations that are related to the neurotransmitter dopamine that, in other studies, has been paired with thrill seeking tendencies or disorders. Derringer held a study of 635 people who had addiction problems, addiction is a sign of severe thrill seeking, and tested to see what genes in these people could be directly linked to thrill seeking. Out of 273 mutated genes that she tested, Derringer was able to narrow these down to 12 mutated genes that could be major links to thrill seeking tendencies. Just fewer than four percent of the twelve combined mutated genes explained differences in people thrill seeking.  Although Derringer has discovered fascinating new information about the mutated genes people have that cause these sometimes harmful thrill seeking tendencies, not enough is known for people to get tested for the mutated genes.

In this video, a newscast talking about how genetic mutations can cause criminal behaviors as well as anti social tendencies. Looking at the personality traits along with the DNA collected from a case study of base jumpers and criminals, the forensic psychiatrist believes that there is in fact a connection between thrill seeking and your genetics.

Do all people with these mutated genes become addicts or criminals? Do you think early detection of this mutated gene could help prevent future problems? Is the mutated gene the only cause for addiction and criminal behavior?

  • Sabrina

    Great post Gabby! I do think that people with these mutated genes can become criminals because; people who want thrills can never get enough. The thrill no matter how bad or good it is still seeked by these thrill loving people. However, i do not think all people are as affected because people learn to enjoy a happy life along with limiting themselves when it comes to the rate of the thrill. I think for the people who are “adrenaline junkies” the thrill of excitement acts as a similar drug known as heroine. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/may/12/drugsandalcohol.medicalscience
    This website tells further more about, the affect of adrenaline on these massive thrill seekers.
    The mutated gene is not the only cause for addiction if you are indeed, abusing the illegal substance you can still get the same thrill feeling without having the mutated gene.

  • James M.

    Very Good post Gabby!! Adrenaline is a very powerful force that is the majority of the time hard to slow down. There is a movie that came out about a year ago, and this man had a disease were if he did not keep his adrenaline going he would have died. Of course this disease is not true. This topic is very fascinating.

    Well adrenaline is defined as a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter. When you are addicted to adrenaline your blood pressure rises and glucose increases. Some people are prescribing to take these pills called Epinephrine. These pills give you adrenaline. If these pills are taken continuously it may cause serious and life threatening affects.

    Adrenaline addiction is very common. The rush of adrenaline is very powerful. If too much adrenaline is pumped through your blood stream it can because you to have heart attack. Adrenalin takes place commonly with people flying airplanes.

    Adrenaline addiction can be transmitted by gene. It is rare that it happens though but it is possible. As gabby had said in her post above that a man named Jaime Derringer has been studying the way genes are mutated through genes.

    This topic was very fascinating and I enjoyed talking and learning about. Gabby keep up the good work and in the future hopefully we can have more conversations about adrenaline and how it is transmitted through genes.

    http://pages.prodigy.net/unohu/adrenal.htm

    http://www.physorg.com/news205515032.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCXnPzQtos4 The bull is the stimulus and the bull caused this man and adrenaline rush.

  • Andrea

    Great topic, Gabby! I did some more research on the risk takers, and found that those people who had the genes that are similar to the neurotransmitter dopamine mainly affected how fast the person makes decisions, how much money they’re willing to spend, and how much a person is willing to follow the rules. These people also tend to be drug addicts, and really only because of these genes, the people can’t help themselves when they take risks like drugs or jumping.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081230072240.htm

  • Gurk

    That was a great post Gabriela! Mutated gene can be both a criminal behavior and a addiction. Acorrding to this website this blog states that the mutated gene is an addiction. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2384-common-gene-mutation-linked-to-drug-addiction.html
    while i was researching I came across a debate that states if a mutated gene is a criminal should you be punished? This is a website that talks about this debate. http://law.fordham.edu/16383.htm

  • monica

    Gabby,your post was quite intirguing. After further reasearch, I discovered that genetic mutations, occur for two reasons. One they are heriditary and two the can develop during an idividuals life. I also found this intresting artricle, that has idividuals who pay to experience a kidnapping or thrilling event. The men and women who seek these thrills were people who were in control of large corporations and other large groups: schools, church congregations, etc. I think there might be a link of control to a genetic mutation.
    http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/mutationsanddisorders/genemutation
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61L4BI20100222

  • Taylor

    After reading this post I realized how dangerous some people could be, and I always assumed that it was because of an adrenaline rush, turns out i was partially correct. I was most interested in how you said that “thrill seeking” was linked to criminal behavior. I did some research and found that not just mutated genes can determine addictions (criminal behavior, adrenaline rush, etc). However, studies show that having mutated genes does have a higher chance of doing more dangerous things, like being a criminal, as opposed to non-mutated genes. Although being exposed in a healthier, safer, stable environment, if you do have these mutated genes, could also help ease the urge to to resort to criminal-like behaviors. I read a lot of great stuff, but by far this was my favorite site:
    http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/jones.html

  • Cartland

    It’s really a good post, Gabby! I think it’s another way to look at crime. I did some research after read your post. And I find out that thousands of human diseases originate from mutations in one or more gene. And I guess addiction is probably a disease too. From this information I think that mutations in genes are terrible. It almost control all the things in our body. It’s really effective.
    But I think it’s not the only reason for criminal behavior and addiction. Not every criminal had mutation in genes, it’s just one of possibility for the criminal behavior. And I believe that the mutation in genes can get control from medicine or treat. So sometimes it cannot be the excuse for criminal behavior.
    And also the mutation in genes can be prevented. I think it’s a good thing to know, and when we figure out how to control and prevent the mutation in genes perfectly, I believe the research for disease will be much better. I hope this day will be coming soon.

    sources:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080328070143.htm

    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA

  • Eva

    Nice post Gabby! I was really interested in what your post was about so I did a little more research. It turns out that not only can mutated genes cause you to do things like become an addict of something or to become a criminal, but it also rises your risk of getting a very harmful disease. Identifying these mutated genes is always the first step to finding the cause of the disease and the treatment for the disease. Some tests done by Ferdinando Di Cunto and Paolo Provero the different risks of getting these harmful diseases from mutated genes to just regular genes.
    I wanted to learn more basic facts about genes and mutated genes so I did some more basic research. Gene mutations occur in two ways-a person can either be born with gene mutations or they can acquire them throughout their lifetime. A person can acquire the mutated gene by either being exposed to certain kinds of earth issues, such as being exposed to ultra-violet light. It can also occur when DNA copies itself during a cell division. These acquired mutated cells cannot be passed on to the next generation. But I still do wonder whether or not these mutated cells can cause big issues in a person life, whether its causing them to become a criminal, or having them obtain a terrible disease.
    Sources:
    http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/mutationsanddisorders/genemutation
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080328070143.htm

  • Deirdre

    Great post Gabby! I have actually just seen a case on Law and Order where a boy was convicted for murder but escaped charges by testifying he had inherited aggressive genes from his father, and those genes lead to the aggressive behavior taking place at the time of the murder. I am unsure if these genes were necessarily mutated but since you inherit genes from your parents I am curious as to if you can inherit mutated genes. I did some research and found that you can inherit gene mutations like cancer if the egg or sperm is affected by the mutation. I also learned that common mutations are usually recognized by cells and fixed automatically. More serious mutations such as cancer are too hard to be fixed by cells alone and need medical attention. Too this day scientists have found 4,000 mutations that can happen within your genes. The average person carries 5 to 10 disease genes in their cells. Problems arise when the dominant gene is found in both chromosomes of a pair. Children of a person with the dominant gene feature in both chromosomes have a 50% chance of inheriting the disease.

    http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/health_basics/genes_genetic_disorders.html#

  • Nick

    Nice post Gaby! When you say mutated genes, does this refer to be an adrenaline junkie? Also, since having a mental disability can excuse you from going to jail, can mutated genes? I see in post above that they believe in it being a crime, but since you did research can you give me a more in depth answer. Also another question I have is having mutated genes always a negative thing, can it be positive? In the website below it explains how mutated genes are transmitted, hereditary. Since, it is a family problem can you control it?

    http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/mutationsanddisorders/genemutation

  • Zach

    Good post Gabby! The fact that a majority of people receive these mutated genes is a huge reason why criminals act the way they do. But, is it possible to remove the mutated genes by means of medical treatment and/or surgery?
    I would like to raise a few questions. Gene therapy is a process of correcting defective genes responsible for disease development. For example, an abnormal gene that can produce a disease can be replaced with a normal gene that cannot produce the given disease. Since gene therapy is a common treatment for people with major diseases, can gene therapy help reduce the cause of adrenaline, and therefore, reduce the percentage and amount of people who commit crimes and have addictions? Therefore, can this be a possible cure to decrease the production of adrenaline in a single person?

    Links: http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/medicine/genetherapy.shtml
    http://www.ommbid.com/OMMBID/the_online_metabolic_and_molecular_bases_of_inherited_disease/b/abstract/part2/ch5.2

  • Noa

    Great post Gabby! Nick, I looked at your questions and decided to do some research on them to answer them for you. There are positive affects of having mutated genes, one of them being that the genes could make organisms reproduce faster than others, and could help organisms endure certain environmental stresses better than wild organisms. An example of how it could help is there is a mutation in a gene called CCR5 which can actually puts a delay on people who have HIV, from getting AIDS only 2 to 4 years later.

    Sources :
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutation#Beneficial_mutations
    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Mutated+gene+can+delay+onset+of+AIDS-a019690568

  • Gunnar

    Great Post Gabby! Nick mentioned something about if a person with a mental disability can be excused from going to jail. I believe that is horrible that a person with a mental disability goes to jail. My brother has a mental disability and can be the sweetest person in the world sometime but he can get a little bit angry just like regular people. People just need to understand that they have to be patient with them. People need to understand that they have it harder, that they can’t stick up for themselves. For example in this article :http://www.babble.com/CS/blogs/strollerderby/archive/2009/01/19/school-calls-police-on-autistic-child.aspx An 8 year old girl wanted to wear her special jacket in class and when the teacher told her she cant wear it she got upset and due to the fact that she has aspergers they immediately got scared and called the cops on her. The school staff called the cops on an 8 year old girl with aspergers. That’s a shame, you don’t think that 8 year old girl would have liked to explain for herself to the cops that she wanted to wear her jacket. That’s why we need science to look further into mutated genes and figure out why and how people get like this. Once again, Great Post Gabby and Nick i hope this helped!

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