Scientists to Study Adam Lanza's DNA

Investigation prompts controversy among experts
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2012 1:39 AM CST
Scientists to Study Adam Lanza's DNA
This undated image shows Adam Lanza posing for a group photo.   (AP Photo)

Following a request by a Connecticut medical examiner, geneticists appear poised to investigate Adam Lanza's DNA. Outside experts say the University of Connecticut scientists—who have agreed to "give any assistance they can"—will probably search for genetic mutations or abnormalities that might prompt mental illness or aggression. They may study Lanza's full genome, ABC News reports. But the potential project has some geneticists concerned: It could lead to a stigma against anyone with such mutations.

"It's too risky from the standpoint of unduly stigmatizing people, but also from distracting us from real red flags to prevent violence from occurring," says a psychiatry professor. "The last thing we need when people are in the midst of grief is offering people quick fixes which may help our anxiety, but can be counterproductive to our long term safety and ethics." What's more, the sample size—one person—is too small to determine anything, says an outside geneticist. But another expert says such a study could help figure out "who is at risk and what might be dramatic treatments." (More Connecticut stories.)

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