Genetic testing in sports: What, if any, role?

The last fifteen years have witnessed a boom of genetic tests for sport performance. They relate both the ability to predict athletes at higher risks

A 'genetic medal'?

A ‘genetic medal’?

for specific injuries, and to the ability to predict athletic talent. They raise scientific and ethical issues related to confidentiality, conflict of interest of the sports physician, informed consent in children, and possibly infringement on the athlete’s autonomy. In this paper we distinguish here genetic tests for injury prevention in four cases: (i) concussion-related trauma brain injuries; (ii)  sudden-cardiac arrest related conditions; (iii) over-exertion complications related to the sickle-cell anemia trait; (iv) Achilles tendinopathies and anterior crucial ligament ruptures, and for athletic performance prediction in children. We argue that while the former kind of genetic tests have utility, with the bounds of specified limitations, the latter is both ethically and scientifically problematic.

Camporesi S, McNamee MJ (2013) ‘Is there a role for genetic testing in sports?‘ Encyclopedia of Life Sciences DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0024203 The article can be accessed here.

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