But what if a significant fraction of the shootings were linked to gene variants? What if scientists were to discover genes that were risk factors, increasing a person’s chance of violent behavior but not foreordaining it?

“If we know someone has a 2 percent chance or a 10 percent chance or a 20 percent chance of violent behavior, what would you do with that person?” Dr. Skene said. “They have not been convicted of anything — have not done anything wrong.

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