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Genetics of Violent Crime´s Profile image

Genetics of Violent Crime

Research group

Contact persons

Research topics and goals

The study on genetics of violent crime. It is suspected that human aggression may be influenced by several genetic polymorphisms (e.g., DRD-2, 5-HTT, MAO), but no studies have been published concerning the genetic background of severe habitual violent behaviour such as committing several successive homicides or aggravated assaults.

The aim of the project is to differentiate which genes contribute to habitual violent behaviour, psychopathy, antisocial personality and substance abuse and what is the role of early environmental factors for the phenotype. We have sequenced whole genome from 30 subjects with extreme phenotype (multiple homicide offenders), and we are currently doing GWAS and CNV analysis from 800 index subjects using data from about 6000 subjects from the population-based Health 2000 cohort as control.

Research methods

  • Exome sequencing, GWAS, CNV analysis

Group – Postdocs

  • Tiina Paunio, tiina.paunio(at)
  • Matti Virkkunen, matti.virkkunen(at)
  • Heikki Vartiainen, heikki.vartiainen(at)
  • Hannu Lauerma, hannu.lauerma(at)
  • Matti Joukamaa, matti.joukamaa(at)
  • Eila Tiihonen, eila.tiihonen(at)

Group – Doctoral students

  • Marjo-Riitta Rautiainen, marjo-riitta.rautiainen(at)


  • Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Niuvanniemi Hospital, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Universities of Helsinki and Tampere, Prison Health Services, Finland
  • Sanger Institute, UK

Selected publications

• Tiihonen J, Rautiainen M-R, Ollila HM, Repo-Tiihonen E, Virkkunen M, Palotie A, Pietiläinen O, Kristiansson K, Joukamaa M, Lauerma H, Saarela J, Tyni S, Vartiainen H, Paananen J, Goldman D, Paunio T: Genetic background of extreme violent behaviour. Mol Psychiatry 2015;20(6):786-92.

• Tielbeek JJ, Johansson A, Polderman TJC, Rautiainen MR, Jansen P, Taylor M, Tong X, Lu Q, Burt AS, Tiemeier H, Viding E, Plomin R, Martin NG, Heath AC, Madden PAF, Montgomery G, Beaver KM, Waldman I, Gelernter J, Kranzler HR, Farrer LA, Perry JRB, Munafò M, LoParo D, Paunio T, Tiihonen J, Mous SE, Pappa I, de Leeuw C, Watanabe K, Hammerschlag AR, Salvatore JE, Aliev F, Bigdeli TB, Dick D, Faraone SV, Popma A, Medland SE, Posthuma D; Broad Antisocial Behavior Consortium collaborators: Genome-wide association studies of a broad spectrum of antisocial behavior. JAMA Psychiatry 2017;74(12):1242-1250.

• Tiihonen J, Koskuvi M, Lähteenvuo M, Virtanen PLJ, Ojansuu I, Vaurio O, Gao Y, Hyötyläinen I, Puttonen KA, Repo-Tiihonen E, Paunio T, Rautiainen MR, Tyni S, Koistinaho J, Lehtonen Š: Neurobiological roots of psychopathy. Mol Psychiatry. 2019 Aug 27. doi: 10.1038/s41380-019-0488-z. [Epub ahead of print]