Controlling the Warrior Gene: Part 1/2

Up to 20% of U.S. troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD, and research says that emotions and family settings—meaning environment and lifestyle—may all play rolls that trigger genes that lead to some troops coming down with PTSD while others in the same combat situations don’t. Sources:  U.S. National Library of Medicine and the L.A. Times

Therefore—under the right circumstances that may trigger a response through certain genes—are some people wired to be warriors?

In 2009, Science Daily reported on research co-authored by Rose McDermott, professor of political science at Brown University. “Several studies have found a correlation between the low-activity form of MAOA—a gene that regulates an enzyme that breaks down important neurotransmitters in the brain— and aggression in observational and survey-based studies. Only about a third of people in Western populations have the low-activity form of MAOA. By comparison, low-activity MAOA has been reported to be much more frequent (approaching two-thirds of people) in some populations that had a history of warfare. This led to a controversy over MAOA being dubbed the warrior gene.”

We already know that certain genetic triggers are activated because of environmental and lifestyle factors. These factors are called triggers. For example, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that “Heredity plays an important part in determining who is likely to develop type 1 diabetes. Genes are passed down from biological parent to child.  … Some theories suggest that environmental factors trigger the autoimmune destruction of beta cells in people with a genetic susceptibility to diabetes. Other theories suggest that environmental factors play an ongoing role in diabetes, even after diagnosis. … Physical inactivity and obesity are strongly associated with the development of type 2 diabetes. People who are genetically susceptible to type 2 diabetes are more vulnerable when these risk factors are present.”

Other genes have been identified that protect against heart damage from chemotherapy. Source:

In addition, reported that “Some people have all the luck. A new study shows that certain individuals with a gene mutation can slurp down milk shakes or other high-fat food and drink without a nasty jump in cholesterol.”

Continued on July 24, 2013 in Controlling the Warrior Gene: Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

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