Navigation Links
Scientists highlight benefits of genetic research in sport, but warn of ethical concerns
Date:9/13/2007

Genetic research into athletic ability should be encouraged for its potential benefits in both sport and public health, a leading group of scientists meeting at the University of Bath said today.

Genetic research into athletic ability should be encouraged for its potential benefits in both sport and public health, a leading group of scientists meeting at the University of Bath said today.

However, ethical concerns, such as whether seeking information about differences between ethnic groups could be perceived as racist research, need to be properly addressed, they warn.

Their recommendations are published in a position stand on genetic research and testing launched at the British Association of Sport & Exercise Sciences annual meeting today.

They call for more genetic research in the sport and exercise sciences because of the anticipated benefits for public health, but want researchers to take a more active role in debating the implications of their work with the public.

If a powerful muscle growth gene was identified, on the one hand this could help develop training programmes that increase muscle size and strength in athletes, but even more importantly the knowledge could be used to develop exercise programmes or drugs to combat muscle wasting in old age, said Dr Alun Williams from Manchester Metropolitan University, one of the reports authors.

We, as scientists investigating genetics, acknowledge a public concern about some genetic research and we believe scientists need to engage in public in debates about the potential benefits of their research.

Research into the athletic success of East African distance runners or sprinters of West African ancestry might be perceived as unethical.

But understanding the limits of human exercise capacity in sport could lead to the development of treatments for a range of diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The potential applications of genetic testing in sport and exercise also raise some ethical concerns, for example in identifying potential athletic ability before birth.

An Australian company already offers the first genetic performance test (for the ACTN3 gene) which has been linked to sprint and power performance.

The report authors are sceptical about whether this test is useful but anticipate that more advanced versions of these tests will be available in future.

We are not yet at a point where we can identify a potential future Olympic champion from genetic tests but we may not be very far away, said Dr Williams, who wrote the report with Drs Henning Wackerhage (Aberdeen University), Andy Miah (University of Paisley), Roger Harris (University of Chichester) and Hugh Montgomery (University College London).

They highlight two dangers of genetic performance tests. Firstly, genetic performance tests might later be linked to disease. For example, a muscle growth gene may later be linked to cancer growth.

Not all people may want to know, while young that they are at increased risk of cancer by early middle age, but they might inadvertently become aware of that just because they had a sport gene test, said Dr Williams.

Secondly, genetic performance tests can be performed even before birth and this may lead to the selection of foetuses or to abortions based on athletic potential.

The report recommends genetic counselling and that the testing should be confined to mature individuals who fully understand the relevant issues.

Genetic tests might also be used to screen for health risks during sport such as genes that are linked to sudden cardiac death.

Genetic tests for sudden cardiac death are already available but the report recommends that such testing should not be enforced on athletes.

Problems with mandatory testing are highlighted by the case of the basketball player Eddy Curry, who had an irregular heart beat.

Curry was asked by his club, the Chicago Bulls, to perform a predictive genetic test for a heart condition. The athlete refused and was traded to the New York Knicks who did not make such a demand.

In future, genetic tests might be used to identify those that respond with the biggest drop in cholesterol, blood pressure or glucose to exercise.

In a personalised medicine approach, such tests could be used to select subjects for therapeutic exercise programmes but scientists are concerned that this might undermine the exercise for all message that already seems difficult to get across to the public.

The authors say that genetic testing might also be used to detect gene doping, which may be a real threat by the time of the London Olympics in 2012, or to show that positive doping tests are the result of a genetic mutation in an athlete.

The report recommends that genetic testing should be used for anti-doping testing as long as the genetic samples are destroyed after testing.


'/>"/>

Contact: Andrew McLaughlin
a.mclaughlin@bath.ac.uk
44-012-253-86883
University of Bath
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Nobel Prize for Medicine shared by Three scientists
2. Scientists plan human cloning clinic in the United States
3. Scientists crack mechanism of Leptin-Obesity Hormone
4. Scientists use plant hormones to fight cancer
5. American scientists alter gene makeup of babies
6. Expose on eating disorders!! Scientists trace “brain’s eating control center pathway”
7. Scientists found ancient Human Germ Killer
8. Scientists locate key hormone involved in appetite control
9. Scientists open the book of life
10. Electronic nose by Italian scientists
11. Scientists review SARS
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... 2016 , ... CloudLIMS.com, a class-leading provider of Laboratory Management ... Lite helps biobanks, clinical, research and testing laboratories keep track of their biospecimens, ... is a faster and a more efficient product, allowing batch processing of data, ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... ... imaging systems and the first company to offer robotic imaging to veterinary ... their tradeshow booth # 941 for the American Association of Equine Practitioners 62nd ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... Rijuven Corp launches rejiva ... health, day and night. No other wearable health technology on the market can deliver ... to give poeple more meaningful insights about their health than the usual heart rate ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... "Pro3rd Accents Volume 2 is ... create versatile lower third titles with just a few clicks of the mouse," said ... includes 30 lower third animations. Choose from various styles with accented animations, rigid boxes, ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... On ... individuals and families from eight different sites throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties. This ... volunteers worked very hard on Thanksgiving morning by putting together individual meals via ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... GARDENS, N.Y. , Dec. 2, 2016  LifeVac, ... will be included in the Emergency Response Training and ... are very excited to have LifeVac become part of ... Lih , Founder and CEO of LifeVac. "Having an ... LifeVac safely and effectively will help leverage our efforts ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , Dec. 2, 2016  PipelineRx, a leading medication ... be offering demonstrations of its SaaS-based telepharmacy platform, ... Health-System Pharmacists 2016 Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition, ... . With nearly 300 hospital clients nationally, the ... technology designed to dramatically improve pharmacy operations, enhance ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... AMARILLO, Texas , Dec. 2, 2016  Maxor National ... its acquisition of Pharmaceutical Specialties, Inc. ("PSI").  The combination of ... and Georgia -based PSI bring together both ... patients, physicians, manufacturers, and payers an industry-leading specialty pharmacy. ... , ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: