Critical Overview of Applications of Genetic Testing in Sport Talent Identification
Stephen M. Roth
Affiliation: Department of Kinesiology, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742.
Talent identification for future sport performance is of paramount interest for many groups given the challenges
of finding and costs of training potential elite athletes. Because genetic factors have been implicated in many performance-
related traits (strength, endurance, etc.), a natural inclination is to consider the addition of genetic testing to talent
identification programs. While the importance of genetic factors to sport performance is generally not disputed, whether
genetic testing can positively inform talent identification is less certain. The present paper addresses the science behind
the genetic tests that are now commercially available (some under patent protection) and aimed at predicting future sport
performance potential. Also discussed are the challenging ethical issues that emerge from the availability of these tests.
The potential negative consequences associated with genetic testing of young athletes will very likely outweigh any positive
benefit for sport performance prediction at least for the next several years. The paper ends by exploring the future
possibilities for genetic testing as the science of genomics in sport matures over the coming decade(s).
Keywords: Genomics, athletics, children, athletes, genotyping, ACTN3 gene test patent
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