Born Equal: Can Genetics Make the Perfect Athlete?
Keywords:genetics, sports-performance, sports and exercise science, strength training, Endurance Performance, muscle power, myostatin
Thanks to the dawn of accessible science to map the human genome and the research that is poured into it, genetics are playing a larger role in elite sports. Genetics have a large influence over many attributes necessary for athletic excellence such as strength, muscle size, muscle fibre composition, anaerobic threshold, lung capacity, and flexibility. The aim of the study was to analyse a large database of athletes, comparing their chosen sports and the level that they play. Analysis of the individuals will include genotypes in six heavily studied genes attributed to athlete potential: ACTN3, MSTN, NOS3, ACE, AMPD1 and TRHR. A combination of both nurture and nature will always be required to bring the most out of an individual, however it would be naïve to ignore natural gifts. Genotypes may give an advantage to certain individuals but the lines between which genotype bring the most benefits is blurred, certain genotypes such as those found in MSTN are very uncommon but have very high affinity for power sports and bodybuilding. Other genes such as the once hailed “sports gene” ACTN3 have far more varied distribution and no particular athlete appeared to be hampered from any genotype, however the C allele did have affinity towards strength and power. From the six analysed genes in the study both power/strength athletes and bodybuilders had completed genotype affinity, however these genes seem to have less impact on those that compete in endurance/stamina sports. The ACTN3 C allele, MSTN G allele, NOS3 T allele, ACE II, AMPD1 C allele and TRHR C allele all show affinity towards power, strength and/or bodybuilding athletes, only the NOS3 C allele showed a true affinity towards endurance/stamina sports.
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