Born to Rage: Inside the Warrior Gene
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Born to Rage: Inside the Warrior Gene

2010, Science  -   45 Comments
Ratings: 5.59/10 from 58 users.

Born to Rage: Inside the Warrior GeneWere you born to rage? Is the need for anger management in your genes? Many, like ex-punk rocker Henry Rollins, have struggled with feelings of aggression their entire lives, and National Geographic is on a mission to figure out why.

Scientists are investigating a single gene - dubbed the warrior gene - that has been associated with violent behavior, raising the disturbing possibility that some people are Born to Rage.

Henry tests this theory on a colorful crew: outlaw bikers, mixed martial arts fighters, Buddhist monks and former gang members.

DNA testing reveals which of them - including possibly Henry Rollins himself - carries the warrior gene. The results provide an extraordinary insight into human behavior.

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45 Comments / User Reviews

  1. vaznaj

    if you have this gene. congratulations and welcome to the fire bending academy.

  2. Sarah

    There is nothing warrior about losing your cool and having a temper unless it's righteous, in which case it does not need to be managed. A warrior would never use initiatory force, that's just a bully with issues. Much easier to put it down to a gene and let others suffer your moods than to sort your victim perpetrator issues out. That's not warrior!

    1. Science trumps

      You don't understand science.

    2. vaznaj

      im with sarah. @science trumps dont understand psychology

  3. Chubbyranks

    Maybe they just want people to do the tests so they can save DNA.

  4. Richard Neva

    Forget this film, they will not let you see it. They take you through a mobius loop that goes nowhere!

  5. Timothy Llewellyn

    I think labeling this gene the warrior gene is misleading. It should be the uncontrolled temper gene.

  6. Michael Rochecouste

    Better doco than I had imagined.

  7. Seeker1982

    Psychopath gene would be a much better name for it and it's nothing to be proud of to have it.

  8. Bigboy456

    Where can I get tested for this gene y how much will it cost mi?

  9. fifimsp

    I think they need to define the violence. To me the biker that everybody thought was going to have it didn't. The type of anger he had though was reactionary anger and violence. To be honest, I'm not violent but I'd probably kill somebody if I caught them in bed with my husband. I've been bullied like Henry and have gone off on people too. Now, I work with BD kids and I have reactionary kids and I also have aggressive for no reason bullies. Kids who are mean and nasty or are always in a state of anger for no reason. Also they are the ones who experience highs and shortly are followed by an outburst. I do believe this is the serotonin levels they're talking about. I think we can all be violent. But how we react in just every day situations is important. Also, there could be other genes counteracting the one in some people but not the other. Also, is this the only gene to make you an ***hole? Probably not.

  10. Philip

    First of all we're talking about one entire third of all males - hardly a rarity. Second, who came up with the deceptive term 'warrior gene'? A sensationalist title meant to make this documentary sound interesting, yet in actual fact simply refers to a diminished version of a gene we all carry. It could just as easily be called a 'deficient', as a 'warrior' gene.

    It just means, as the MMA guys prove by lacking it, that people who carry it have less control or ability to deal with aggressive impulses - like the dutch family who beat and rape their women.

    I found this entire documentary fascinating in it's ability to carry on with a foolishly misleading premise, despite all it's own evidence to the contrary. As a long time Rollins fan, I expect more intelligence than that from you Henry.

  11. the555hit

    I'm an American purveyor of video entertainment, in this case 'documentary' and y'know, i was brought up on beligerence, and sugar, and i see violence like i see sugar --- just gotta get it in everywhere i can --- in fact i'll base an entire diet on sugar-violence and sell it to you as nutrition, dissembling the whole prurient ruse beneath a plassy guise of not-even-half-hearted finger wagging. And when i run out of themes, like "violence-obsessed creep stalks helpless woman, or "violence-obsessed creep murders helpless woman" or "violence-obsessed creep stalks and murders helpless woman" i'll start desperately inventing some more. Here's one. It's called "the warrior gene" my latest purile little 5hortd1ck excuse to put out another little ad for.. you guessed.. glorious American v i o l e n c e .

    America's cousins across the pond have word for the people who churn out this kind of moronic unreconstructed churning out of quasi-thoughtful self aggrandising propaganda. It's a word Americans don't generally understand. I wonder why.. The word is FUKKEN WANKERS. Is this how you you think you can continue running the planet?

    1. Philip

      Well said!!!!!

  12. thenesteamonster

    a failed experiment that turns into a movie production! this film proves to me that some people can make money out of anything, especially violence; just put in some gangsters or other characters that seem interesting/ frightening to some and you're set

  13. Dallas Moore

    I'm sure it really doesn't mean anything, but some part of me still wanted to get tested anyway. Maybe so that I just could use it as an excuse for all the violent **** I've done in the past. So Iooked it up and you can order the test kits for $100. I'm not that curious. There are plenty of other things I'd rather spend $100 on.

  14. Darren Walton

    So they picked a random gene and called it "warrior" Gene, then found that monks have it, the same as bikers, proving literally...ehm...nothing. Great science guys. Myth busted

    1. Robert

      So there was a recent study carried out in 2019 in relation to the warrior gene, and it involved testing prison inmates the UK. The interesting element of the study was that nearly the the majority of the prisoners had the 'warrior gene'. The scientist went onto test himself and he too had the gene. The conclusion from the study was that the way in which people with the gene are raised as children, he from a loving nurturing home, the prisoners predominantly from broken/violent homes receiving some kind of early trauma, effects how their life path will play out. I genuinely thought this is fascinating.

  15. lol_what_am_i_saying

    didn't watch more than 20 min... but what i get is that henry rollins seems too much like a poser, he doesn't seem real to me at all. all his "anger" seems to be one directed towards something within an audience.
    look at me i'm pissed off! check me out

  16. drinker69

    Take things as they come. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.-Bruce Lee
    Fkkn eh

  17. Chaz Ed

    Henry seems to have been in the same situation growing up as myself! I did notice that he wears jeans and still doesn't have the warrior gene! I don't believe I have the warrior gene but I do like to wear jeans. And it's likely that provoked I could stomp someones arse! That is if they don't mind...

  18. Lorna Kennedy

    They may well find a jean that influences the worrior jean. Think a whole lot more needs to be found out. It could be misleading to some and i cant believe it was used in court. I was interested in this warrior jean but found i could have learnt as much reading a short paragraph.I have no interest in Henrys life and instead of watching a documentary i watched a reality tv programme about a twat who is looking to excuse his bad behaviour.

  19. Amirreza Rafiee

    I am just thinking whether the warrior gene has to do with what the level of your emotional intelligent is. It might seem there is no relation at the first glance, but considering the balance matter in all aspects of the life and probably universe, it might suggest that the worrier carriers are trying to seek peace somewhere in their life and subsequently they would have a higher EQ level. I might be absolutely wrong, but this is the sort of feeling that I got it through the whole worth watching film.

  20. Imightberiding

    ... short & sweet: I would think after watching this film & giving it some thought & reflection, this so called gene is probably more related to risk taking proclivities than violence as an isolated behavior. Just my thoughts, but don't any one piss me off about it!!!

    Oh, & you know Henry Rollins was secretly pissed he didn't have the gene. Now all he has an excuse for his bad attitude, behavior & aggression is his upbringing & personal response to it. His lack of personal growth & prolonged immaturity are a result of his own choices. Shame on you Henry! We all go through Sh#t, but some of us deal with it in a more mature & civilized way. Just messin' people. I love good ole Henry & his angst.


    You can't unbake a cake.

  22. Mark

    If we were to accept the proposition that we are essentially nothing(in the sense that we don't exist primarily as solid, unchanging entities and that this "appearance" of solidity is only just that, making us essentially illusory beings living in a dreamlike world), then anything describing us physically or mentally(which of course includes the so called "Warrior gene") is also an illusion created by our minds(though just for the sake of "believing" we understand human behavior we would still cling to these illusory notions as valid; this applies to all of psychology and spirituality).

    1. Jack1952

      Now that's a comment that says absolutely nothing. Typing "-------------------------------------" for an entire paragraph would have been just as effective. I could have created my own illusion from that at least.

    2. Mark

      Yes. because it would be an illusion(essentially YOU) who's the one typing whatever illusion happens to arise out of nothing.

    3. Jack1952

      The illusion that we create from nothing is nothing to be disillusioned about. Hey...I can do this too.

    4. Worveys

      I understand exactly what you're saying Mark, even though Jack clearly doesn't. But I can never accept the proposition the we are essentially "nothing". Even if not solid, we are still something that EXISTS.
      I prefer to think of the solid appearance of the world, as a perception ...not an illusion. The term "illusion" implies that we're perceiving our environment incorrectly, or seeing something that doesn't exist.
      When you see a rainbow, you see what appears to be a huge arc of colours, a few thousand feet high, and a few kilometers in the distance. But, since the arc doesn't actually exist in real space, it's an illusion.
      When you perceive the "solid" world right under your feet, and "physical" objects all around you are perceiving and interacting with the reality that IS actually there.
      Even though it is actually a dreamlike world, built only from fuzzy ghost-like bits of information, that exists only in a state of potentials when you're not observing it's still the actual reality. Hence the "solid" appearance of it, is just the way our senses have evolved to perceive it ...and is not an illusion.

      And I feel that the notion our minds "create" reality, may also be a little over estimated ...there seems to be an underlying "mind" that sets the conditions and constraints of this dreamlike world, and governs how all entities in it evolve -including us, and the "warrior gene"( if it exists) ...and would seem to have absolute authority over our minds.

      Some may call it "God". I prefer to call it the laws of physics, but either way -we are NOT the absolute masters of this reality. There are some things our minds didn't create. If it exists, the "warrior gene" might be one of them. . . .

  23. Igor Chang

    I kept watching cause of Rollins!

  24. eyecandy_babydoll

    There are sooo many things that can pre-dispose someone WITHOUT the warrior gene to violent behavior. Drugs, alcohol, social pressure, brain trauma, childhood abuse, neuro-chemical imbalance, epigenetic silencing, PTSD, the list goes on and on.

    Just like having the warrior gene does not mean you're going to be violent. If it's shortened or silenced, I'm guessing certain methyl donors could increase it's activity (B12, betaine containing foods or supplements). Then the warrior gene carrier could end up as a preacher, charity worker or life saver.

    1. wald0

      ..."I'm guessing certain methyl donors could increase it's activity (B12, betaine containing foods or supplements..."

      While methylation, the process of transferring methyl groups to certain molecules such as homocysteine, has been shown to reduce chances of coronary artery desease and possibly even increase creativity, productivity, happiness, and general longevity I am curious as to why you would guess it would specifically enhance this genes activity. It has been shown to protect DNA integrity to some degree but that is a long way from enhancing a particular genes activity. I am not saying you are wrong, I am asking if you know something I don't. I am not very experienced with methylation's effect on specific genes. Besides, if the process enhanced this genes activity would that not make them more violent instead of less? After all they are hypothesizing this gene facilitates an agressive, violent nature. Shouldn't we be looking for a process that would either supress or completely shut down this gene instead of enhancing its activity? The general theory behind why methylation seems to increase happiness, creativity, and productivity has to do with its role in facilitating certain brain chemistry as far as I know. I have never heard anything about it supressing or activating any particular gene. But, like I said before, that doesn't mean it isn't the case- maybe you know something I don't. Can you please reference the research you are basing your opinion on, did they publish? I would love to read it.

    2. Imightberiding

      Had to reply to your comment about some one with the "warrior gene" who could possibly over come it & become a "preacher". My father, grandfather, great grandfather & perhaps even farther back were all preachers/ministers. When I say that not one of them practiced "sparing the rod", I am being extremely generous.

      I too went so far as to attend post secondary Theological College on my way to becoming an ordained minister & missionary but fortunately came to my senses prior to squandering the remainder of my life in that field. Trust me when I say: after generations of violence towards one's own children, a preacher does not a peaceful man make.

    3. sknb

      so good to see someone mentioning epigenetics

  25. Muse Photos

    Great documentary.

  26. sknb

    I wonder if the warrior gene would be related to being violent against yourself in self - harm.

    1. Hodd

      Probably so. How such a trait manifests would involve a lot more than genes alone.

  27. Lazra

    A warrior fights what he or she perceives as a threat. In youth, our perception of threats is elementary to our perception of threats as adults. Any individual you meet, know, or come into contact with that fights against his or her threats whether that may be physically, mentally, and/or spiritually is a warrior and is likely to have this 'warrior' gene. Bless

  28. Jack1952

    I was a bartender for over ten years and whenever someone entered the bar that had the look and the swagger of Henry Rollins I expected trouble. Quite often I would be right.

    There are those who carry their belligerence like a badge of honour. They would rather scowl than smile, fight than shake hands, and don't care that they are not welcome in any public establishment or most homes in town. A very strange way to live a life.

  29. pumbaas_liferaft

    They should probably rename it the "domestic violence gene" or the "ass hole gene".

  30. BlackDog Aura

    the name warrior gene is pretty misleading.

    why not call just call it the the buddhist monk gene.

    or the totally random association gene

  31. John Krisfalusci

    LOL this is already debunked when Henry Rollins said as a child he was provoked until he was pushed over the limit by, i.e., urinating on himself which causes humiliation in self to permanently 'turn on' this anger/rage behaviour. This whole gene thing is getting out of hand. If you just look at childhood experience, these traumatic experiences make up almost 95% of anger/rage issues. Seriously, these people are over-doing this. Statistical info can be found in DSM-IV.

    1. Jack1952

      The film did end by saying that we are a product of our genetic make-up and our environment. The film also mentions that we are the only species that can examine our personality weaknesses and strengths and use our intellect to overcome those weaknesses and enhance those strengths. To allow the gene defence in the murder trial that was profiled may not have been the wisest choice that judge ever made. It did give the jury an out, though, on the death penalty and the accused was still incarcerated.

      What makes up our personalities and abilities would be a part of our genetic make-up. I went into grade one completely illiterate, yet at the end of grade one, I could read the newspaper and ace a grade eight spelling test. Math, however, was a different story. It's not as if I can't do it but I have to work at it. I've always wondered why that was. My assumption is that that was the way my brain was hard wired.

    2. the555hit

      a little closer inspection of the set-up and editing decisions reveals the playground scene as a call for whites who consider themselves as in any way victims of blacks to stand up and lash back as some kind of 'noble warriors'. the whole thing is a ham-fist-obvious white-might propaganda excercise.