26
Nov
14

2:8 Decembrist: The Warrior Gene & Lizzie’s Mom (11/21/2014)

We’re going to find out more about Liz’s Mom in the upcoming episodes, according to IBTimes, “As previously reported, the Season 2 of “The Blacklist” is expected to explore Liz’s mother storyline.” http://bit.ly/1F7s32i.

We know very little about her so far. We don’t know if she was Red’s wife. In an earlier draft of the pilot, Liz’s mother is said to have struggled with addiction. In the final version, Red says only that she “died of weakness and shame.” What can that possibly mean? “Weakness” sounds kind of sounds like addiction, but “shame”? All I can think of in terms of “shame” is prostitution…

@A.M. I’m not sure I buy the Warrior gene argument, but here is my final take on the biomedical background. Maybe it helps form a portrait of a woman who “died of weakness and shame.”

If Lizzie has the Warrior gene the had to inherit it from both her mother and father (otherwise it’s effects would be be muted or cancelled out). So, what might we expect her mother to have been like? Her mother did not have to display the Warrior gene, but she did have carried it on one of her X chromosomes. If she had two copies of the gene, she could have been a firecracker, hot & stylish like Madeline Pratt or intense & passionate like Carrie Mathison in Homeland.

MAOA-L (3R or 2R, SNP rs909525 http://bit.ly/1uNG1VU) variants predict risk-taking, aggression and anti-social behavior, but also are related to risk of suicide or self-harm http://bit.ly/1p5fOB5. MAOA-L is particularly associated with the Category B personality disorders http://1.usa.gov/1ArZG0J. This group includes anti-social, histrionic, borderline (suicide threats & self-harm), and narcissistic personality disorders.

Depression, bipolar disorder etc, drug addiction and alcoholism are coded elsewhere in the genome and co-occurrence can exacerbate the effects of MAOA-L. This article from the National institute on Drug Addiction indicates a high correlation between addiction and anxiety and mood disorders Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses http://1.usa.gov/1v1yItB

There is also a “Worrier vs Warrior” marker (rs4680h in the COMT gene on Chromosome 22 http://bit.ly/11ksQQd).

A study in Finland recently identified a marker on Chromosome 16 (rs11649622 in the CDH13 gene http://bit.ly/1xxfgG2) that, if combined with MAOA-L is highly predictive of criminal behavior. This last study just came out in October โ€“ this is very much a work-in-progress.

Let me say also that there are also positive aspects of many of these markers: creativity, risk-taking (which can also be a good thing: โž” our celebrated and vilified “job creators”!), high energy & motivation, fearlessness & drive, and even heightened sexuality. Often, drug dependence or alcoholism begin as attempts to self-medicate or manage the sense of over-excitation (or just to get some sleep) but if someone has that propensity for addiction, it can result in a downward spiral. Fortunately, there are now a wide range of psychopharmaceuticals for treating these conditions in ways that do not diminish their positive effects. But often, patients are reluctant to take them.

I’m very curious to see if Lizzie’s Mom is portrayed as having any of these issues โ€“ beyond the brief mention in the pilot, how this might play into whether or not Lizzie has the Warrior gene(s) โ€“ and, of course, who her biological father is.



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