Why does our modern world remain so violent? Explorer’s Inside the Warrior Gene examines the work of a new breed of scientists who believe the answer may lie not in society, but in our DNA. Research has identified a specific gene, known as the Warrior Gene, which is being increasingly associated with violent behavior. And it’s shockingly common: one in three men in the U.S. have the mutant gene.
Ex-punk rocker turned commentator Henry Rollins has struggled with violent feelings and a quick temper all his life. From fist fights at school to venting his rage as front man for the California punk band, Black Flag, to his current spoken word performances, Henry is an angry man. But he’s confused about where his anger comes from, and why he feels so different from others. He always put it down to the environment in which he was raised. But after finding out about the Warrior Gene, Henry is a man on a mission. He wants to know if his anger has to do with his upbringing or if it’s inside him, part of his DNA.
Henry enlists the help of a colorful group of characters to find out who else might have the Warrior Gene and how it’s affected their lives. A gang of outlaw bikers, like Paul, who was shot, stabbed and run over, and in return shot his assailant repeatedly. Surely Paul has “the warrior gene?” Or a group of Mixed Martial Arts fighters, who beat up each other for a living, would seem to be ideal candidates for the mutant gene. Or reformed gang members, twins Hector and Gilbert, who, without proper parenting, became the scariest and most dangerous kids on the block. Then there’s Dick Butkus, football Hall-of-Famer, widely regarded as the toughest and greatest linebacker of all time: surely he carries the warrior gene mutation? Or what about a peace-loving group of devout Buddhist monks or the chief executive of a large and successful company: surely they don’t have the gene? They all take a DNA test, which provides surprising results.
The link between the Warrior Gene and violence was first made after a 1990 study of an incredibly violent family in Holland. Most of the male members of this family had committed rapes, arsons and assaults, and the women were terrified of being around them. It turned out the males had a total absence of the MAOA gene – a gene known for distributing calming drugs like serotonin and dopamine to the brain. It has taken a further twenty years for researchers to understand the connection to mutations of the MAOA gene. But now the evidence seems irrefutable that those with a shortened or mutated MAOA gene have tendencies towards violence.
When the results of the DNA tests are in, the audience will be surprised–even shocked–at who has the Warrior Gene and who doesn’t. It reveals that the quest to understand human behavior will neither be quick nor easy. Inside the Warrior Gene is a thrilling descent deep into the genetic makeups of some very violent people. It’s not an easy journey, but this Explorer Special could be at the frontier of answering some of mankind’s oldest questions: who are we? And do we control our own destiny, or does it control us? Inside the Warrior Gene is a journey we should force ourselves to take.
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