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Scientists Seek Hints From Adam Lanza’s DNA

NEWTOWN, CT - DECEMBER 19: Police tape stretches across the front yard of the Lanza residence on December 19, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza reportedly shot his mother Nancy Lanza last Friday before he killed 26 others, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Connecticut’s chief medical examiner is seeking to analyze the DNA of Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old responsible for the Newtown, Conn., massacre that left 20 schoolchildren dead.

The University of Connecticut genetics lab has offered to help, but the goal is not to find a single diagnostic gene tied to Lanza’s violent acts.

According to Arthur Caplan, the head of NYU’s Bioethics Division, “a particular DNA message may indicate a propensity to behavior, but at best you might find associations to greater risk.” So whether or not Lanza possessed the so-called “warrior gene” that has become associated with psychopaths, we still won’t have an answer as to why he did what he did.

Scientists are only beginning to understand the correlation between genes and behavior—and in any case, it takes more than just a genetic predisposition to make someone violent.