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Background: Antisocial behaviors are complex polygenic phenotypes that are due to a multifactorial arrangement of genetic polymorphisms. Little empirical research, however, has been undertaken that examines gene × gene interactions in the etiology of conduct disorder and antisocial behavior. This study examined whether adolescent conduct disorder and adult antisocial behavior were related to the dopamine D2 receptor polymorphism (DRD2) and the dopamine D4 receptor polymorphism (DRD4).

Methods: A sample of 872 male participants from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) completed self-report questionnaires that tapped adolescent conduct disorder and adult antisocial behavior. DNA was genotyped for DRD2 and DRD4.

Results: Multivariate regression analysis revealed that neither DRD2 nor DRD4 had significant independent effects on conduct disorder or antisocial behavior. However, DRD2 interacted with DRD4 to predict variation in adolescent conduct disorder and in adult antisocial behavior.

Conclusion: The results suggest that a gene × gene interaction between DRD2 and DRD4 is associated with the development of conduct disorder and adult antisocial behavior in males.

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This document was originally published by BioMed Central Ltd. in Behavioral and Brain Functions, an open access, peer-reviewed, online journal. This article was distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. DOI:10.1186/1744-9081-3-30

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