Sex crimes influenced by genes in families: Study

Many a times, we find that the progeny or relatives, be it men or women, fall for the same or similar crimes committed by people convicted from their families. At first it may be hypothesized that it stems from the psychological impact they had by the misconducts of their kins. But now, a new Swedish study claims to have found that the tendency to commit crimes, especially sexual one, actually is genetically bound and runs in all generations, rather than being influenced by shared family environments. This study report was revealed in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

About 2.5 percent of near relatives of people, especially men, convicted of sex crimes more often commit the same types of crimes. This is owing to the role of genes, says the team from Oxford University and Karolinska Institutet of Sweden.

The researchers calculated the approximate numbers of sexual offenses perpetrated by fathers and brothers of imprisoned male sex criminals and compared this to the proportion of general male population with similar ages and family relations. The study was done on 21,566 men convicted between 1973 and 2009 for such crimes in Sweden, eg. rape of an adult (6,131 offenders) and child molestation (4,465 offenders).

"Although, sex crime convictions are relatively few overall, our study shows that the family risk increase is substantial. This does not imply that sons or brothers of sex offenders become offenders for sure. Yet, preventive treatment for families at risk could possibly reduce the number of future victims " clarified and explained main author Niklas Langstrom.

They also analysed the comparative importance of genetic and environmental factors for the risk of being involved in or committing sexual abuse by utilizing a well-established statistical calculation study model. Thereby, it was found that sex crimes mainly depended on genetic factors and environmental factors that family members do not share with one another, corresponding to about 40 percent and 58 percent, respectively.

"Such factors could include emotional liability and aggression, pro-criminal thinking, deviant sexual preferences and preoccupation with sex," the researchers said.

All of this pointed to one thing, that no matter what you want to be from the inside, your genes are still more powerful that you can imagine. Albeit not true for everyone, yet a high chance prevails which can push you to the 'other side' effortlessly.

Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya
MGM University
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