Summary

The precise nature of the biological contribution to criminality in general remains elusive. If present, it operates together with psychosocial factors. Evidence of a genetic basis for criminal behaviour has obvious social and legal implications. The admissibility of genetic 'evidence' in cases coming before criminal courts in the United States and elsewhere has met with varying success. The XYY syndrome has been introduced but failed as a defence in five major American cases; elsewhere it may have been a factor affecting sentence in some cases.(31) Courts have been generally reluctant to allow 'genetic evidence' of a speculative type to be heard. In the course of an armed robbery in Georgia in 1991, Stephen Mobley shot and killed a pizza store manager. His lawyer requested the court that Mobley undergo testing for a possible genetic absence of isoenzyme monoamine oxidase A to establish whether he suffered from a syndrome reported in a Dutch family by Brunner et al.(32> The court refused the testing.

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