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Familial DNA Testing Nabs Alleged Serial Killer

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the relatively-incriminating dept.

Biotech 258

cremeglace writes "A quarter-century of conventional detective work failed to track down the killer responsible for the deaths of at least 10 young women in south Los Angeles dating back to the mid-1980s. But a discarded piece of pizza and a relatively new method of DNA testing has finally cracked the case, police announced last week. On July 7, L.A. police arrested Lonnie Franklin Jr., 57, a former garage attendant and sanitation worker they suspect is the serial killer nicknamed the 'Grim Sleeper.' The key evidence? A match between crime-scene DNA and the suspect's son, obtained by a search through the state's data bank of DNA collected from 1.3 million convicted felons."

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258 comments

And for our next trick: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32879792)

We'll be comparing death records with DNA testing to determine health care eligibility. YEAH!

Why don't they find the serial killer gene instead (-1, Flamebait)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32879798)

Why don't they find the serial killer gene instead

It makes more sense to me to find the gene that produces serial killers and cure it while it's in the fetus stage rather than wait until the serial killers become adults and genetically profile and scan everyone.

We have figured out at least some of the genes responsible for violent tendencies. Why not figure out if it's possible to shut these genes off in mice and work from there?

Sources:
http://discovermagazine.com/2006/apr/violence [discovermagazine.com] psychiatric genetics

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (5, Funny)

tisepti (1488837) | more than 3 years ago | (#32879834)

Nope - cant do it.

If we start removing the genes for sociopathy we will not have anyone left to be the CEO of the fortune 500 companies.

I said serial killers not sociopaths. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32879888)

Non-violent sociopaths can stay. They have enough self control, intellect, reasoning ability, and impulse control to be non-violent. Most of the sociopaths running fortune 500 companies aren't serial killers, or rapists.

Now if we find out a fetus has both violent genetics, and will be a sociopath, we should allow the parents the liberty to decide to shut off these genes. If the parents want to raise a sociopath it's on them, but I don't know any parent who wants to raise a serial killer, and if we knew who is likely to grow up to be a serial killer in the fetus stage it would be like giving birth to a down syndrome baby when that baby could be born perfectly healthy at the flip of a switch.

Re:I said serial killers not sociopaths. (4, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 3 years ago | (#32879986)

Most of the sociopaths running fortune 500 companies aren't serial killers, or rapists.

True, but that wouldn't stop them from hiring that work out if it were profitable, and if they thought they could get away with it. The main difference between a criminal and a business genius is that one understands more intricately the phrase "plausible deniability."

Re:I said serial killers not sociopaths. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880072)

Most of the sociopaths running fortune 500 companies aren't serial killers, or rapists.

True, but that wouldn't stop them from hiring that work out if it were profitable, and if they thought they could get away with it. The main difference between a criminal and a business genius is that one understands more intricately the phrase "plausible deniability."

It doesn't take a sociopath to be capable of that. Given the right situation and if most of us could get away with it, we'd hire the work out just as quickly and as easily as the sociopathic CEO. The only difference is the sociopathic CEO would have more money to do that with and wouldn't have any ethical standards or rules as to when to use that power (therefore it would be abused).

Re:I said serial killers not sociopaths. (4, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880738)

The main difference between a criminal and a business genius is that one got caught.

Re:I said serial killers not sociopaths. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880818)

Most of the sociopaths running fortune 500 companies aren't serial killers, or rapists.

How do you know? They're probably using their ludicrously generous salaries to cover their tracks. A good alibi only costs so much, you know.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 3 years ago | (#32879990)

On the other hand, no more lawyers or politicians, either. I'd call it a wash.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (2, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#32879848)

It makes more sense to me to find the gene that produces serial killers and cure it while it's in the fetus stage

There has been some theoretical discussions [wikipedia.org] about this idea before, but the general idea [wikipedia.org] is not very popular right now.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (2, Interesting)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32879972)

It makes more sense to me to find the gene that produces serial killers and cure it while it's in the fetus stage

There has been some theoretical discussions [wikipedia.org] about this idea before, but the general idea [wikipedia.org] is not very popular right now.

None of the ideas which would actually work are popular. Doing anything to save the environment isn't popular. Doing anything about population growth is not popular.

But if we decide which ideas are good or bad based on whats popular this would explain why we are dying. I mean if we decide it's a good idea to continue giving birth to serial killers, and mentally retarded children when we could decide to have perfectly healthy children, sure it might not be a popular idea but it's still right.

Can anyone give me one reason why giving birth to disabled children is a good idea? Especially if we are talking about serial killers? From a utilitarian perspective, if given the option to have a child who is healthy or a child that is going to be a serial killer I'd choose the healthy child.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880088)

Doing anything to save the environment isn't popular.

WTF?!

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (4, Insightful)

ewieling (90662) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880110)

Because they will start "curing" homosexuality, skin color, or whatever happens to be unpopular at the moment.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1, Interesting)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880220)

Once past your scare quote, knee jerk reaction generator, what's wrong with that?

So let parents decide. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880234)

Because they will start "curing" homosexuality, skin color, or whatever happens to be unpopular at the moment.

I'm not advocating having the government decide. I'm saying the woman should be able to decide if she wants to give birth to a serial killing rapist or not. The woman should be able to decide if she wants to give birth to a mentally retarded child or not. The woman should be able to decide or choose which genes to activate in regards to homosexuality, skin color, or any of that, just as the parent gets to choose the name of the child.

Re:So let parents decide. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880538)

By the time there's enough baby to take a cell sample from to discover that your fetus will develop down syndrome, it's too late to just flip the gene back.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (0)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880462)

Doing anything about population growth is not popular.

As it shouldn't be. The world as a whole does not have an overpopulation problem, nor is it likely to develop one.

Which just brings up the fundamental flaw in your plan: what authority gets to decide who gets born? And why would you trust them?

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880562)

Doing anything about population growth is not popular.

As it shouldn't be. The world as a whole does not have an overpopulation problem, nor is it likely to develop one.

Which just brings up the fundamental flaw in your plan: what authority gets to decide who gets born? And why would you trust them?

The economy proves otherwise. If there were not a population problem there would be enough jobs to hire everybody born multiple times over, and we'd be on a path to always have more jobs than population as the job growth would at least correlate with if not surpass the population growth.

Does that look like its happening? No it's not.

And what authority gets to decide who gets to be born? The women who give birth. And yes I t rust them. My mother had the option to abort me and chose not to. If I were going to be born with a severe disability, if my mother chose to have me be born healthy, that would lead to a better quality of life for me, so why would I complain about that?

The people who are miserable are the people who are born into situations and with problems which society cannot deal with. If you were born unable to ever walk, it's going to be a lot more difficult to be healthy. Sure some people who can't walk like Hawking are geniuses and maybe your parents would decide to let you be born like that on purpose, but would anyone consider this to be ethical or humane?

We wouldn't let our pet cats or dogs be born with diseases but we'd let humans be born that way? I'm not saying I should be able to tell you or anyone else whether or not you should have an abortion or cure a disease as a fetus, I'm just saying that if I want my offspring to be disease free at any cost, I should have the right and you shouldn't have the right to prevent it. Just as if a woman who was raped wants to abort her fetus you shouldn't have the right to prevent that.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32879860)

Why not just kill off all the family members of serial killers? I mean, if it's being caused by a gene, then all these people should be at least carriers of the gene. If we kill them all, we can eradicate the gene fro the gene pool and we'll never have serial killers ever again! Yeah, this is just as logical, effective, and ethical as your proposed solutions. Which is to say, not at all.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (2, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#32879956)

Well, there is precedent [wikipedia.org]

The punishment involved the execution of close and extended family members.[3][20] These included:

        The criminal's living parents
        The criminal's living grandparents
        Any children the criminal may have, over a certain age (which is usually variable depending on the time period)
        Any grandchildren the criminal may have, over a certain age (which is usually variable depending on the time period)
        Siblings and siblings-in-law (the siblings of the criminal and that of his or her spouse, in the case where he or she is married)
        Uncles of the criminal, as well as their spouses
        The criminal himself

Of course, for a complete wipe you'd want to get nieces and nephews too, a group strangely absent from the list of executed.

Because the family members are victims already. (2, Interesting)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880032)

If you had a serial killer in your family that makes you into a victim just by the fact that you have a serial killer in your family. It ruins your family reputation and dishonors your family be default.

No I don't think killing the families of serial killers would work because you cannot kill a bad gene. The only thing you can do about a bad gene which probably exists in most families, is to allow most families to have the option to give birth to offspring without having that gene activate itself. Also it's more ethical from a utilitarian perspective to spare human lives as taking lives makes and creates misery in the same way that the serial killer does.

My solution is logical because it would work and it would make the world happier and safer. Your solution is less logical because it wouldn't work and it would make the world miserable and more dangerous. When you shut off a gene in a fetus the fetus isn't harmed, nobody has to die. When you kill an entire family then a lot of people have to die.

So let me guess, you are anti abortion because you believe killing a fetus generates as much misery and damage as killing an adult?

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32879864)

Why don't they find the serial killer gene instead

It's on the list. Right after curing cancer.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#32879966)

...cure it while it's in the fetus stage

Since detection will come long before treatment, I suspect the interim "cure" would be to puree and vacuum the fetus.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880104)

...cure it while it's in the fetus stage

Since detection will come long before treatment, I suspect the interim "cure" would be to puree and vacuum the fetus.

In experiments we have shut off specific genes in mice and these mice have lived healthy lives. What if we could shut off the gene that produces rapists and serial killers? We would have a choice as to do something then and there, or wait until the serial killer/rapist victimizes hundreds, thousands, or millions of people.

Why should we wait for the symptoms when we can cure the disease in the womb?

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880722)

Now thats the ticket, and why stop there?

We could also shut off the gene that makes us eat to much junk food. We could shut off the gene that makes people like Brittaney Spears. Finally, I would love it if we could shut off the gene that makes people annoying and unable to understand that some things in life are complicated and not black and white.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880002)

Yes, I agree with you. It should be an easy task if they start by looking near the gene of being american [wikipedia.org].

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880400)

Actually, if you take that list and compare it to the populations of the given nations, you'll find that the UK apparently has 2.5 times as many serial killers as the US, Australia has twice as many, and Canada has roughly the same number.

Of course, getting a list of names from wikipedia is an idiotic way to study the prevalence of serial killers in different nations. But, then again, suggesting that we "cure the serial killer gene" is probably every bit as stupid, so I guess your comment fits the discussion perfectly.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880580)

Actually, if you take that list and compare it to the populations of the given nations, you'll find that the UK apparently has 2.5 times as many serial killers as the US, Australia has twice as many, and Canada has roughly the same number.

Of course, getting a list of names from wikipedia is an idiotic way to study the prevalence of serial killers in different nations. But, then again, suggesting that we "cure the serial killer gene" is probably every bit as stupid, so I guess your comment fits the discussion perfectly.

Why is it stupid? If we could cure sickle cell, or any other genetic disease would this be considered stupid? Why have gene therapy and stem cell research at all if the goals are all stupid?

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (4, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880648)

It's stupid because it makes a baseless assumption about the nature of a specific type of human behavior, uses that assumption to propose an extremely complex solution, and ignores the multitude of side-effects which would most likely occur even if the initial premise were valid and a solution were found.

It's like saying "hey, why are we wasting money on kevlar vests when we could just cure the bullet-permeability gene?"

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880786)

It's stupid because it makes a baseless assumption about the nature of a specific type of human behavior, uses that assumption to propose an extremely complex solution, and ignores the multitude of side-effects which would most likely occur even if the initial premise were valid and a solution were found.

It's like saying "hey, why are we wasting money on kevlar vests when we could just cure the bullet-permeability gene?"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/09/AR2005110902079.html [washingtonpost.com]

According to this article it was possible to screen for downsyndrome 5 years ago. They could determine if the fetus would have downsyndrome and abort the fetus. This can be done today, right now.

In the future they will be able to activate or deactivate genes, or at least screen the fetus for the activated genes so that fetuses with these genes need not be born.

Tell me what would be so bad about this? If mental illness is genetic and we can screen for the genes associated with specific mental illnesses, why give birth to babies who will suffer a lifetime of mental illness?

I'm saying women should be given the abortion to abort an unhealthy fetus.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880654)

Actually, if you take that list and compare it to the populations of the given nations, you'll find that the UK apparently has 2.5 times as many serial killers as the US, Australia has twice as many, and Canada has roughly the same number.

And what do they all have in common?
Former British colonies.
I think you're onto something and suggest we nuke those territories. Just to be safe.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (4, Insightful)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880034)

Biology, despite the movies, really doesn't work that way. You may find a gene... that gives them a 4% chance of being a serial killer, perhaps. Maybe. We think. But there is a good chance you won't find anything at all. Its not all in the DNA (epigenetics, nurture vs nature etc.)

Only thats not really true. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880144)

We have found certain genes already. We have done experiments on mice already, not in regards to serial killers in specific but in general we have cured many diseases through gene therapy already.

So the question is should we stop stem cell research? should we stop genetic research? or should we actually look for the genes which are responsible for the diseases we want to cure and see if we can treat these illnesses in the fetus stage?

It's cheaper to treat disease in the fetus stage. It's also less damaging to everyone involved. It might work or it might not work but if it does work then we save a lot of lives. If it doesn't work we tried to save a lot of lives.

Re:Only thats not really true. (3, Insightful)

Eudial (590661) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880542)

The leap from "we have found certain genes that affected certain traits" to "it is possible to find a gene that makes a person a serial killer" is quite big. Furthermore, will that gene make everyone who has it a serial killer? What if it's partly genetics, partly environmental? Should we treat people with the gene who have not killed anyone as criminals?

Re:Only thats not really true. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880814)

The leap from "we have found certain genes that affected certain traits" to "it is possible to find a gene that makes a person a serial killer" is quite big. Furthermore, will that gene make everyone who has it a serial killer? What if it's partly genetics, partly environmental? Should we treat people with the gene who have not killed anyone as criminals?

It's very much like if we found a gene which creates a high probability of autism, or a gene which creates a high probability of some other mental illness, if we could deactivate that gene in the fetus or if we could screen fetuses for that gene so that only healthy fetuses are born, why shouldn't we give parents the option to do it?

Give me one reason why we shouldn't let parents guarantee the health of their child through fetal screening?

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

Dr. Hellno (1159307) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880082)

I refuse to accept that behavior can be absolutely governed by genes (and your article makes a very similar point). Besides, if we shut off the gene for violence, assuming such a thing exists, what would the result look like? It might be unable to detect or react to danger, or it might exhibit some mutant form of restraint so paralyzing that it can't do anything at all.
Disease is one thing, but manipulating behavior through genetics seems dangerous. Perhaps when we have a complete understanding of our DNA, the time will be right.

It doesn't matter if you accept it. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880276)

Tendencies are the result of genes. Not behavior, but tendencies. So a person who has the tendencies of a serial killer is born at risk for becoming a serial killer.

Just like a person can have a sexual attraction but never really have sex, having that sexual attraction puts them at increased risk for having sex. If a person is born with an inability to control their impulses, they are basically disabled mentally. This is genetically influenced even if they never become a serial killer, their quality of life would be better if they had impulse control.

The same can be said about depression and suicide. Not all depressed people commit suicide, but can you admit that if you found the gene that causes depression that it would be in that childs benefit to cure their depression while they are a fetus? This way they don't have to have a lifetime of medication and treatments in psychiatric wards.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880156)

We're currently waiting for them to weed out the victim genes first.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880188)

find the gene that produces serial killers and cure it

It's likely that only a fraction of the people with the serial killer gene actually go on to become serial killers, and that the rest of them express the gene in ways that are conducive to success in sports, business, and a variety of other competitive endeavors. It's just as unfair to shut genes off in an unwilling subject just because you don't like the gene as it is to cut off someone's hands because you think they might use them to steal something. Doing things like identifying genes and "curing" them without understanding how sentient beings can be constructed from atoms is all but guaranteed to deliver unwanted effects.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880332)

@Anonymous

Explain how being violent, impulsive, and sociopathic can help in anything? Even if they never become a serial killer they probably wont live to be 21 because they'll still be violent, impulsive, and will likely get into trouble which gets them killed or locked up.

The point is parents should have the right to decide if they want to raise a child who is disabled or not. It should be a choice parents are given, do they want to raise a child who has a high likelihood of becoming a rapist or serial killer when they can shut off that gene and remove all doubt, virtually guaranteeing that their child wont be these things? It's very much like if a child is about to be born with autism, or with a disease that is going to shorten the childs lifespan and you as a parent can guarantee your child not be born with this lifespan shortening disease, why would you choose to give birth to the child who has this disease when you can give the child a normal life?

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880790)

"Explain how being violent, impulsive, and sociopathic can help in anything?"

I can see that you place no value in having a military force, prepared to defend you. While so many people whine and cry about violent tendencies, more knowledgable people work toward channeling violent tendencies into useful pursuits. Without violent tendencies, what kind of world do you think that you would be living in today? Go on - use your imagination. Can't do it? Alright - I'll TELL YOU. You'd be just another fucking monkey flinging his shit at the big cat on the ground, prowling around the edges of the monkey colony.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880194)

Well it is not as morally/intellectually as easy as you seem to think it is to start messing what it is to be human.
and I am sure a lot of it is not genes but learned behavior.
While we might be able to turn off humans violent tendencies, violence does have its uses.
Without some violence who can say what we would be unable to cope with.
and their is a difference between someone able to kill someone and someone that will kill someone else.

Anyone can train to be violent, the point is (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880454)

Well it is not as morally/intellectually as easy as you seem to think it is to start messing what it is to be human.
and I am sure a lot of it is not genes but learned behavior.
While we might be able to turn off humans violent tendencies, violence does have its uses.
Without some violence who can say what we would be unable to cope with.
and their is a difference between someone able to kill someone and someone that will kill someone else.

The point is that serial killers are violent for no reason, for no cause, for no purpose other than to get a thrill. They are like individuals who torture for the fun of it. How is this trait useful for a society as modern as ours? If it were so useful we wouldn't be putting them in cages.

So the trait isn't considered useful by society. So let individual parents turn the trait off if they don't want a serial killing rapist in their family. This does not erase the gene from the gene pool, it simply deactivates the gene in the individual so that it's not turned on. The gene still will exist in the gene pool because as far as we know there is no way to erase genes out of the gene pool.

As far as being violent goes, a serial killer isn't just someone who is violent. The MMA fighters, the boxers, the soldiers trained to kill, they are violent. The serial killer is a predator who is violent for no reason other than violence sake, and produces nothing but misery. The rapist is another one who produces nothing but misery for misery sake.

So is it that difficult of an ethical decision to determine if the world would be happier without rapists and serial killers?

Re:Anyone can train to be violent, the point is (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880716)

"The point is that serial killers are violent for no reason, for no cause, for no purpose other than to get a thrill. They are like individuals who torture for the fun of it. How is this trait useful for a society as modern as ours? If it were so useful we wouldn't be putting them in cages."

Is that all that different from liking action movies, FPS, or in an extreme case possibly even being able to enjoy meat?

And I doubt that genes dictate the reason, Humans like being violent (to varying degrees) it is this violence that allows us to be soldiers, to kill animals for food, to hunt, and to defend ourselves. Take away that and we may cease to be able to function.

For example is their really any big difference between trophy hunting animals or humans? Both are killing for killings sake. One of them seems to just like hunting mammals that stand a chance.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (3, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880248)

Why don't they find the serial killer gene instead

Because their probably isn't one.

There may well be genes that impact the propensity to become a serial killer, but, even if there are, its not at all inconceivable that one that slightly increases the propensity to be a serial killer also has all kinds of socially beneficial effects, too, and that which effects manifest in any particular person vary based on environmental, rather than genetic, circumstances.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880592)

Why don't they find the serial killer gene instead

Because their probably isn't one.

There may well be genes that impact the propensity to become a serial killer, but, even if there are, its not at all inconceivable that one that slightly increases the propensity to be a serial killer also has all kinds of socially beneficial effects, too, and that which effects manifest in any particular person vary based on environmental, rather than genetic, circumstances.

If we find the one gene or series of genes which cause the disease, why not shut those genes off?

What is the social benefit of serial killing rapists? I'd like to know. Lack of impulse control? How is that good? Lack of discipline? Lack of a conscience? Whats the social benefit in any environment and if there were one why do these individuals end up caged up or dead?

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (3, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880842)

If we find the one gene or series of genes which cause the disease, why not shut those genes off?

I direct you to my response to GP (well, with the "their/there" error corrected):

Why don't they find the serial killer gene instead?

Because there probably isn't one.

What is the social benefit of serial killing rapists?

I never said there was a social benefit of becoming a serial killer of any kind; I said that (because links between genes and behavior are rarely simple) its quite likely that if there is a gene or set of genes that increases the overall likelihood of someone with it becoming a serial killer, the same gene or set of genes could quite possibly also have other effects, which are socially beneficial. Whether in any particular person the undesirable effects, the desirable effects, both, or neither manifest could be (as is often the case) determined not by the genetics alone but the genetics combined with environmental triggers.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

ascari (1400977) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880348)

Why not figure out if it's possible to shut these genes off in mice and work from there?

Because it's hard to find serial killing rapist mice?

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880606)

Which should be even more evidence that it's a disease that doesn't have a function in nature.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880728)

Because it's hard to find serial killing rapist mice?

Silence, Pinky, or I shall have to hurt you.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880366)

Probably because it's dangerous to pick on serial killers as a group.

"We call this one the "Genetic Researcher Decapitator".

Also, genetics does not work that way. Either you're an epically great troll or you simply didn't take any biology at any time in your life.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880674)

Probably because it's dangerous to pick on serial killers as a group.

"We call this one the "Genetic Researcher Decapitator".

Also, genetics does not work that way. Either you're an epically great troll or you simply didn't take any biology at any time in your life.

So you are saying gene therapy never works to cure anything? Lets look into that,

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-01-28-bubble-boy-gene_N.htm [usatoday.com]
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/09/colortherapy/ [wired.com]
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/02/28/gene_therapy_gets_closer_to_a_cure/ [boston.com]
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7003-gene-therapy-is-first-deafness-cure.html [newscientist.com]

So what you are saying is you'd rather continue to leave people hopelessly disabled rather than attempt to find a gene therapy? And as far as fetuses go, you can screen every fetus and guarantee that the fetuses born don't have the gene.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (2, Insightful)

future assassin (639396) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880430)

Better yet why not just inject come sheep dna into humans so that we can all follow the sheep leader with out any questioning.

Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880636)

Good idea. Remove all the genes that cause violent tendencies. Then what? We have a population of passive idiots sitting around, waiting for a conqueror to come in. If the Russians, the Chinese, the Koreans, and the Mexicans all decline to conquer this country, then we'll just have to wait for Alien or Predator to do it.

Despite common "wisdom", without violence we would be an entirely different creature. Some of those creatures have been examined in various science fiction novels. Personally, I don't much want to become an Eloi, being preyed upon by the Morlocks.

Psychiatric genetics (0, Redundant)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32879814)

We must hunt down and treat the serial killer gene before it kills us all. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychiatric_genetics [wikipedia.org]

This is one of the reasons why transhumanism is a good thing. We have individuals born with psychological illnesses that make them a danger to themselves or others, why not treat and cure these individuals at the fetus stage so that they and we need not suffer from the impact of inaction?

Re:Psychiatric genetics (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#32879970)

"why not treat and cure these individuals at the fetus stage so that they and we need not suffer from the impact of inaction?"

Abortion is simpler and trivial to perform.

Re:Psychiatric genetics (3, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880120)

I'm sure my GF would disagree with the "trivial and simple", after she started hemorrhaging and nearly bled to death.

Re:Psychiatric genetics (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880178)

Abortion is short term. Long term solution is to find a way to shut off the gene that causes the disease to begin with. We cannot keep giving birth to these people only to put them in cages, thats a waste of money.

Re:Psychiatric genetics (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880300)

Because the so-called 'warrior gene' that's found in many violent offenders, is not entirely a bad thing. It usually (always?) needs to be coupled with a abusive childhood to lead to a life of violence. People wo have the former without the latter often end up be highly ambitions and very competitive. These traits often serve society very well. Or they become UFC champions, which is kind of neutral...

Re:Psychiatric genetics (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880686)

... Or they become UFC champions, which is kind of neutral...

lol... but seriously, do not underestimate the value of those who entertain, even if it isn't exactly high-brow entertainment. I suspect if you eliminated all the stupid TV, there'd be more crime and even serial killers and such as these people went out and tried to find other activities to occupy their free time. The theory that they'd start watching smart TV seems far-fetched. Better to keep them at home glued to their TVs watching that drivel than out wandering the streets looking for things to do that they'd find amusing...

Re:Psychiatric genetics (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880712)

Because the so-called 'warrior gene' that's found in many violent offenders, is not entirely a bad thing. It usually (always?) needs to be coupled with a abusive childhood to lead to a life of violence. People wo have the former without the latter often end up be highly ambitions and very competitive. These traits often serve society very well. Or they become UFC champions, which is kind of neutral...

The warrior gene isn't the only gene involved. Warrior does not necessarily mean serial killer.

Also you don't know whether or not everyone with the warrior gene is sociopathic. If they have the gene and aren't sociopathic then they might be beneficial to society but if they are violent without a conscience to regulate their violent tendencies, they wont have the self control and discipline of a UFC champion.

Why are false positives a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32879866)

Even if there's a false positive, this testing should only grant the police a warrant for a suspect's DNA, which would then be compared with the crime scene evidence DNA, and the false positive would be detected. As long as the police don't publicly accuse the suspect before the full comparison, I don't see a problem with this.

There are starving kids in china (5, Funny)

coolsnowmen (695297) | more than 3 years ago | (#32879922)

The moral of the story is: finish your damn pizza.

Re:There are starving kids in china (2, Interesting)

dlanod (979538) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880180)

It's the usual "DNA testing helped us catch this serial killer. Obviously this means it's all safe and dandy and no privacy worries here!" article that gets wheeled out about once every couple of months, just in case someone was starting to have concerned thoughts about all that identifying material being available to the government and its underlings.

I'm rather sceptical about these articles these days because they do seem to appear so regularly to remind us all how lucky we are. Keep an eye out and you'll see what I mean.

Re:There are starving kids in china (0, Troll)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880446)

No it's eat your own damn cum!

Re:There are starving kids in china (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880754)

Before long we're going to need complete isolation suits before we can commit a crime.

Personally, I'm not committing any crimes until I can remote-pilot a bot from very far away. And afterward, make sure the bot is torn into pieces, and throw every piece into a fire.

Familial Testing Was ONLY Part 1 (4, Informative)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 3 years ago | (#32879946)

Familial testing gave them the ballpark family.

Regular policework found the bad guy from there. They stalked the suspect, who was nabbed after DNA was found on a meal that the suspect discarded. THAT DNA was the stuff that got him busted.

Re:Familial Testing Was ONLY Part 1 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880022)

Moral of the story: Eat the crust.

Re:Familial Testing Was ONLY Part 1 (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880172)

Yes, especially if you're a serial killer. Then you'll get diabetes and die. I mean, after all that serial...

I wish I could press a button that will kill all the killers.

Thank you folks, I'll be here all weak.

Re:Familial Testing Was ONLY Part 1 (3, Funny)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880246)

Reminds me of the string of murders in a city nearby. They found all the victims strangled in their own bathtubs, covered in milk and Cheerios with a whole banana shoved into their throats. The police are pretty sure that it is a cereal killer.

[rimshot]
Thanks folks! I'll be here all week! Try the fish!

Re:Familial Testing Was ONLY Part 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880176)

THAT DNA was the stuff that got him busted.

I really hope they had other compelling evidence, too. DNA matches between random people happen. A lot. You can't positively identify a single person via DNA testing, at this point.

Re:Familial Testing Was ONLY Part 1 (1)

Goner (5704) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880202)

It was good policework, and prior to that good reportage by one LA Weekly reporter that caught this guy. The high tech nature was used properly I believe. I'd rather see this sort of thing exonerate people than convict them, but given that in 1988 an 18 year old was found dead 10 blocks south of where I live... 99.99% chance killed by this guy... I'm glad he's off the streets.

Re:Familial Testing Was ONLY Part 1 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880250)

Regular policework found the bad guy from there. They stalked the suspect, who was nabbed after DNA was found on a meal that the suspect discarded. THAT DNA was the stuff that got him busted.

It may have been good police work or an attempt to circumvent the courts? If they had a prime suspect why didn't they get a warrant from a judge?

This is a dangerous slope because it says cops can obtain genetic material in any manner of their choosing. How long till cops work in restaurants and take samples from customers dirty dishes and match the dna to credit card receipts to find names?

IANAL so i can argue this point well, however it would seem that this search was illegal because there was no warrant to obtain evidence from the trash at the pizza joint.

my $0.02

Data mining gone wrong. (5, Interesting)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32879958)

DNA fingerprints are not as random as many think. The markers used were not designed for a nation wide database situation. Hence collisions could be a big problem. That is two people with the same fingerprint (at least at the very small parts of DNA we look at) can in fact be very likely with a database this size.

I'm not saying he is innocent, but i don't think we should jump to the conclusion that he is guilty either.

In fact we may need to use SNPs (Single nucleotide polymorphisms) to be good enough for a database of millions (or eventually billions) to reduce collisions to acceptable levels.

Re:Data mining gone wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880170)

You're partially right. Yes: If you go fishing for DNA, multiple hypothesis correction is going to skunk your results. If a DNA match is say 1 in 10 billion and you look at 200 million entries, after Bonferroni correction you're down to 1 in 50.

However, looking at more probably SNPs won't help. SNPs are correlated with one another! What we need is more independent signal.

Re:Data mining gone wrong. (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880216)

In fact we may need to use SNPs (Single nucleotide polymorphisms) to be good enough for a database of millions (or eventually billions) to reduce collisions to acceptable levels.

Even then there's the problem of sample collection errors, lab errors and so on. A DNA match will never give certainty, just give the police a useful lead.

Re:Data mining gone wrong. (4, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880320)

DNA fingerprints are not as random as many think. The markers used were not designed for a nation wide database situation. Hence collisions could be a big problem. That is two people with the same fingerprint (at least at the very small parts of DNA we look at) can in fact be very likely with a database this size.

The collision is a problem only if both are plausible suspects:

The Korean War vet in a California hospice is almost certainly not the serial rapist and killer who has been stalking women in New Jersey the past six months.
 

Re:Data mining gone wrong. (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880328)

That is two people with the same fingerprint (at least at the very small parts of DNA we look at) can in fact be very likely with a database this size. [...] The markers used were not designed for a nation wide database situation.

Correct, I suppose, but perhaps misleading. Your objection does not, I believe, lead to a rational conclusion that convictions based on false-positives will rise, huge budgets squandered, or other similar troubles occur. Once police are sufficiently interested in a small handful of individuals, after they take the dozens or hundreds of hits from a familial search and narrow them by conventional detective work, I'm sure much more thorough tests are available to conclusively check just a few people against the suspect sample.

It will be up to ethicists, district attorneys, courts, and civil liberties attorneys in the long run to determine just how much "fishing" is allowed in these familial DNA searches and what constitutes too high a cost or too high a rate of false-positives, but I assume that once the search is narrowed more accurate, specific biological testing and focused conventional detective work can produce adequately highly confident convictions.

Re:Data mining gone wrong. (4, Insightful)

sehlat (180760) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880338)

When you're talking about evidence where the death penalty is at issue, the ONLY acceptable collision rate is zero.

Re:Data mining gone wrong. (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880820)

When you're talking about evidence where the death penalty is at issue, the ONLY acceptable collision rate is zero.

Well, the death penalty is morally indefensible until you can prove the legal system is entirely perfect and beyond possibility of error. Of course, the courts are a government run institution, so they never make mistakes, right?

Re:Data mining gone wrong. (4, Interesting)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880830)

The feds and states have been working hard to ensure there are no known collision rates above zero by prohibiting searches of the database to see just how bad it is. The LA Times has a nice writeup about the problem. [latimes.com] Basically they don't want scientists doing blind studies because it shows DNA isn't absolute especially for cases that have no other evidence.

Data Dregding (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880594)

With millions of samples and what is it, 1 in 20000 unique people match each other in DNA tests? Then we can simply keep trying those will the correct age and geographic credentials until we get a convictions.

Speaking of mutants (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880030)

Linux is the OS most preferred by faggots.

This would be great except.... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880132)

Familial searches from a DNA database the size of the one in California are very, very likely to produce false positives. For example, a study of the Arizona CODIS database carried out in 2005 showed that approximately 1 in every 228 profiles in the database matched another profile in the database at nine or more loci, that approximately 1 in every 1,489 profiles matched at 10 loci, 1 in 16,374 profiles matched at 11 loci, and 1 in 32,747 matched at 12 loci. http://www.maa.org/devlin/devlin_10_06.html [maa.org]

With California currently having the third largest DNA database in the world, the odds of ANY new genetic evidence matching on a cold search is way too likely.

Most disconcerting. (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880164)

Most disconcerting.

Does this mean that if I have had a DNA sample taken, all of my direct ancestors can be traced without ever being a "part" of the DNA database?

Alternatively, can a descendant of mine provide a DNA sample sometime in the far future and inadvertently "include" me in the system?

Is there some point in time where the introduction of new genetic material "breaks" this continuity between generations, in terms of DNA as a legal identifier?

My understanding of genetics simply isn't up to the task of answering these questions.

Re:Most disconcerting. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880590)

Alternatively, can a descendant of mine provide a DNA sample sometime in the far future and inadvertently "include" me in the system?

Are you afraid this will make it easier for skynet to find you (now that phone books are passe)?

Re:Most disconcerting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880646)

Once it gets down to grandchildren, they would have a hard time matching it back to you, unless you married your sister and then your kids married each other, of course. Further down and they are not that much related to you, really.

So you don't have to worry if Jimmy gets busted for marijuana possession. Your secret dinner room is safe.

Still, an unbroken lineage of male descendants is the best way of having a big portion of your genes(namely the Y chromosome) perpetuated. Specific sequencing there would reveal your ancestry with pretty good certainty. Therefore, avoid having male kids.

More iPhone ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880252)

From TFA:

"Wow," he wrote in a message sent from his iPhone.

I saw this in the L.A. time article this weekend and wondered, what next?

"Awesome," he said, shitting in his Levis."


"Why not?", she offered as she chewed another Valtrex."


"Perfect!" he exclaimed, knocking the mutilated Hot Pocket off his penis."

The police are only going to get more lazier now. (1)

BlueCoder (223005) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880602)

Hmmm... we have some DNA... Good, let's just send it to the lab and throw that guy in jail. No need to vet it. Look judge... the DNA matched!!!

Moral of the story, if your going to be a serial killer you need to find a dupe that is pretty straight and unlikely to have too many dealings with the law and mostly a loner and plant his DNA at all the crime scenes.

reminds me of a csi episode (4, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#32880638)

they had a guy four square for a brutal rape, but the guy was unconcerned. sure enough, the dna test came back and turned out he only shared half the dna with the culprit: the murderer must be the guy's brother

so they let him loose and track down brother after brother, sample his dna, and it turns out to be yet another brother. meanwhile, the woman who was raped is murdered, and they find a hair on her body that matches the original suspect's dna 100%

while examining the original suspect again, grissom sees that his skin is strangely mottled, and he has an interesting statue in his house: the legendary greek chimera

grissom cracks the case: the guy committed the rape because he knew he was a genetic chimera. the dna of his semen was the "brother" of the dna of his blood

http://www.csifiles.com/reviews/miami/bloodlines.shtml [csifiles.com]

a genetic chimera is an extremely rare individual in which fraternal twin zygotes are created, then fuse. so different organ lines in the body are from two different "individuals". you are your own twin, you are a mix of two people. there is also the real life case of a woman who became a criminal suspect because she was suspected of kidnapping: she claimed to be the mother of a child, but a genetic test reveals she was the aunt: her own ovaries weren't hers but from her "phantom sister"

http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/story?id=2315693&page=1 [go.com]

not that this is an argument against how they caught the grim sleeper, i applaud this use of genetic profiling of relatives to solve crimes. its simple sleuthwork, and plenty of innocent people come under suspicion all the time in criminal investigations that must be ruled out with basic detective work

NZ Police Officer who is a serial killer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32880752)

I feel like Topper from Dilbert here but there is a senior NZ Police Officer from Manurewa district that is a serial murderer (he is still an active police officer). Following is a description of the guy... (from http://nzpoliceandserialkiller.blogspot.com/2010/07/nz-police-senior-police-officer-and.html)

He is a senior Police Officer connected with Manurewa district. Person is a male in his 50's. Good looking, greying hair. Lives on a farm near Manurewa. Has a swing or some kind of couch on his back porch. Seems to have access to Police intelligence and police IT resources. Height about 5' 9". Has a wife also good looking. Both are caucasian. Wife used to have white hair cut short in a sort of bowl shape. Wife also in 50's. Good looking. Clear skin. Very wealthy. From back porch of their house you can see lights of what looks like suburbs or possibly street lights of Manurewa or other nearby township. Person has straight
nose, clear skin. Also known to kill people by bashing them. Also known to attempt murder by injecting a carcinogen through a small finger held needle device. Person has a small (10 metre) yacht. Person is quite stocky and beefy. Has a small double chin.

They have no children.

Their house has a post box number which includes a 7 in it. The number 7 may be the last number in on the post box.

A murder I am aware of that this senior Police Officer from Manurewa district was commited happened on a dark night. This senior Police Officer and his partner took a man in their car to a dark deserted farm which may have had one streetlight. The farm is down a dark and deserted country gravel road. There they stomped on the polynesian man until his death.

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