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XYY SYNDROME - A DANGEROUS MYTH

NCJ Number
57447
Journal
New Scientist Volume: 64 Issue: 923 Dated: (NOVEMBER 14, 1974) Pages: 474-476
Author(s)
J BECKWITH; J KING
Date Published
1974
Length
3 pages
Annotation
THIS ARTICLE REPORTS THE LACK OF A CAUSAL LINK BETWEEN THE PRESENCE OF AN EXTRA Y CHROMOSOME, AND VIOLENT BEHAVIOR. METHODOLOGY USED IN SUCH STUDIES ARE SAID TO CONTAIN FLAWS.
Abstract
NO EVIDENCE EXISTS THAT HAVING AN EXTRA Y CHROMOSOME CAUSES CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR. UNFORTUNATELY, MANY PROGRAMS BASED ON THIS FALSE PRESUMPTION, HAVE ATTEMPTED TO CORRECT THE 'VIOLENT PREDISPOSITIONS' OF XYY TRAIT CARRIERS WITHOUT INDICATIONS THAT INDIVIDUALS DESERVE SUCH ATTENTION. ADOLESCENT MALES IN ONE MARYLAND INSTITUTION WHO WERE FOUND TO HAVE THE EXTRA CHROMOSOME WERE INJECTED WITH FEMALE SEX HORMONES TO RESTORE THEIR 'NORMAL' BEHAVIOR. ABORTION OF FETUSES WITH THE XYY TRAIT HAS BEEN ADVOCATED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE. NUMEROUS FLAWS IN THE INITIAL GENETIC RESEARCH HAVE SUBSEQUENTLY BEEN FOUND, ESPECIALLY IN THE IMPROPER SAMPLING TECHNIQUES USED TO OBTAIN XYY SUBJECTS FROM CRIMINAL POPULATIONS. THE PROBLEMS CONFRONTING TRAIT CARRIERS MAY ACTUALLY BE SOCIETAL, RATHER THAN GENETIC. FURTHERMORE, TREATMENT OF TRAIT CARRIERS MAY HAVE A SELF-FULFILLING RESULT. PARENTS MAY RESPOND TO THEIR SONS' GENOTYPE AND TO THEIR PERSONAL FEARS, INSTEAD OF DIRECTING THEIR SONS' ACTUAL BEHAVIOR. UNFORESEEN PROBLEMS MAY RESULT FROM SUCH SPECIALIZED PSYCHIATRIC THERAPY FOR OTHERWISE HEALTHY MALES. GENETIC SCREENING AND SURVEILLANCE PROGRAMS SUCH AS THOSE TAKING PLACE IN DENVER, BOSTON, AND NEW HAVEN MAY BE THE OPENING WEDGE FOR PROGRAMS WITH MORE SERIOUS EUGENIC IMPLICATIONS. ATTEMPTS TO HALT THE BOSTON PROGRAM ARE DESCRIBED. (TWK)

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