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Do elite 'power sport' athletes have a genetic advantage?
Date:9/25/2013

inherited the C allele from both parents. This "CC" genotype was found 40 percent of the power athletes, compared to 13 percent of endurance athletes and 18 percent of nonathletes.

Power athletes were three times more likely to have the CC genotype compared to endurance athletes, and twice as likely compared to nonathletes. At least one copy of the C allele was present in 55.5 percent of power athletes, compared to about 40 percent of endurance athletes and nonathletes.

But Functional Significance Not Yet Clear

In a further analysis, the researchers found no differences in genotype between "top-elite" athletes who had won medals in international-level competition, compared to elite-level athletes who were not medalists.

The new study is the first to replicate previous, independent research showing an increased rate of the CC genotype of the AGT gene among power athletes on Spanish national teams. That study also found about a 40 percent prevalence of the CC genotype among elite power athletes.

The AGT gene is part of the renin-angiotensin system, which plays essential roles in regulating blood pressure, body salt, and fluid balance. There are several possible ways in which the CC genotype might predispose to improved power and strength capacityincluding increased production of angiotensin II, which is crucial for muscle performance. However, the researchers emphasize that the "functional consequences" of the M235T polymorphism remain to be determined.

The study contributes to the rapidly evolving body of research on genetic factors related to exercise, fitness, and performancewhich may one day have implications for identification and training of potential elite-level athletes. Dr Cięszczyk and coauthors conclude, "Identifying genetic characteristics related to athletic excellence or individual predisposition to types of sports with different demands (power or endurance oriented) or even sport special
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Contact: Connie Hughes
connie.hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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