Scientists at the Universal Genome Center, in Burbank, California, say they have identified the human gene that causes people to commit murder.
The discovery capped a three-year, $30-million-dollar research project involving as many as three people poring over the 20,000 genes catalogued in the Human Genome Project (most of them labelled as, and I’m using the technical term of art here, “junk” genes). “Oddly enough,” said Dr. Oscar Able, co-director of the study, “We found it in the Ms.”
As might have been expected, the gene was in the Y chromosome associated with male characteristics. Another oddity, according to Dr. Able, was that the gene was closely associated with another that causes men to name their sons after John Wayne.
The discovery could lead to a cure for murder, according to Dr. Calvin Cain, co-director, who spoke at a separate news conference because he doesn’t get along with his colleague. “We are seeking fundng now,” said Dr. Cain, for a mammoth research project to develop a murder vaccine. “We think we already have a genetic treatment for murder, but it can only be applied after the fact. We think it is effective, but it has some unfortunate side effects.”
When pressed for details about the side effects, Dr. Cain demurred on the grounds that the subjects given the medicine had all died too fast for doctors to determine what was killing them. As a result of these complications, future testing will be limited to people who are within seven days of their execution date, with all appeals denied. “If you are in that group,” said Dr. Cain, “call your doctor and ask if this trial is right for you.”
Dr. Cain said he expected to bring to market a perfected medicine and a preventive vaccine, “within this eon.”
The announcement drew immediate reaction from NORMAL-C, the National Organization for the Restoration of the Murder Lifestyle Choice. “It’s what we been saying all along,” said president John Wayne Johnson from his death-row cell in Texas, “Murder ain’t a choice. Nobody in his right mind would choose to be a murderer. You’re born a murderer. People don’t kill people, genes kill people.”
Later, NORMAL-C issued a news release demanding, on the basis of the new research, that all murder convictions be overturned and the voting rights of convicted murderers be restored, pending the inevitable appeals. “Hey,” said John W. Johnson, “you people elected Bush, twice. How much worse could it get?”