A line of research has revealed that a polymorphism in the promoter region of the MAOA gene is related to antisocial phenotypes. Most of these studies examine the effects of low MAOA activity alleles (2-repeat and 3-repeat alleles) against the effects of high MAOA activity alleles (3.5-repeat, 4-repeat, and sometimes 5-repeat alleles), with research indicating that the low MAOA activity alleles confer an increased risk to antisocial phenotypes. The current study examined whether the 2-repeat allele, which has been shown to be functionally different from the 3-repeat allele, was associated with a range of antisocial phenotypes in a sample of males drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Analyses revealed that African-American males who carried the 2-repeat allele were, in comparison with other African-American male genotypes, significantly more likely to be arrested and incarcerated. Additional analyses revealed that African-American male carriers of the 2-repeat allele scored significantly higher on an antisocial phenotype index and on measures assessing involvement in violent behaviors over the life course. There was not any association between the 2-repeat allele and a continuously measured psychopathic personality traits scale. The effects of the 2-repeat allele could not be examined in Caucasian males because only 0.1% carried it.
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