Genetic Determinants of Athletic Performance

Author(s): Dietrich A. Stephan.

Journal Name:Recent Patents on DNA & Gene Sequences (DIscontinued)

Volume 6 , Issue 3 , 2012


An extraordinary revolution in medical research has taken place over the past decade, enabled by the completion of the first human genome sequence in 2001. The Human Genome Project (HGP) has resulted in the 6 billion letter reference human genome sequence and the ultra-high throughput technologies used by medical researchers to identify correlations between positions within the human genome (genotypes) and diseases or traits (phenotypes). Just as every human disease has a genetic component, so too does every human trait. The vast majority of these diseases and traits also have an environmental component that works in conjunction with the body’s hardwiring to produce the resultant phenotype – termed “complex genetic traits”. A derivative of the HGP has been a deeper understanding not only of diseases but of normal human variability across the population, including aspects of athleticism. The technologies also now exist for consumers to cheaply gain access to variations in the genetic code that are correlated to traits that confer aspects of longevity, memory performance, athleticism and a multitude of others there-through gaining insight into propensities. Communication of propensity to a phenotype such as athletic performance is fraught with technical, legal (e.g., patents), social and ethical issues. That being said, the information is available, has benefit in some cases, and will be utilized in the future. Given that the “genie is out of the bottle” with respect to our ability to deliver this genetic information to individuals, over the past decade our team has worked diligently to craft the appropriate testing and communication paradigms for complex traits. Here we discuss several of the major risks and benefits of this type of testing for athletic performance. It is important to understand the limitations of genetic information in determining the vast majority of traits

Keywords: HGP, ELSI, complex traits, CLIA, FDA, gene patents, genetic testing, athletic performance, genetic predisposition, genetic determinism

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Article Details

Year: 2012
Page: [175 - 179]
Pages: 5
DOI: 10.2174/187221512802717376
Price: $100