Is Being a Serial Killer Hereditary?

We inherit a lot from our parents — our hair color, our height, even some of our personality traits. But what if your parents personality traits are less than desirable? What if your parent or someone else in your family is a serial killer — is that something that you can inherit?


The answer — well it’s not that simple.


A few decades ago, Bradley Waldroup was on trial for the murder of his wife. In a last ditch effort to save his life, his lawyer sent off a blood sample and asked for the lab to look for a specific gene. Sure enough, the lab techs found exactly what Waldroup’s lawyers were looking for — Waldroup had, what is now dubbed, the “warrior gene.”


The warrior gene comes from having a MAOA deficiency, which if left untreated, can lead to violence.


In addition to the “warrior gene,” many serial killers are also known to have one or several mental health disorders. That’s why we’ve seen an influx on mental health claims in the media once another mass shooting has been committed.


Now, we know that mental health disorders can be hereditary — if a child suffers from anxiety, there is a chance that one or both of their parents also suffers from anxiety. And it was found, that many people share the same MAOA deficiency as the man that murdered his wife, but — they would never kill anybody.


Due to research, we are now able to pinpoint if people have certain mental health disorders or carry the “warrior gene” or the “killer gene” but according to Daniel Weinberger, the Johns Hopkins neuroscientist, “everyone’s genome has a different level of risk for different disorders. Everyone’s got something.”


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