Life science businessmen predict genetically enhanced athletes will soon compete in the Olympics
(Medical Xpress) -- The journal Nature has begun publishing a series of commentary piece articles related to the sciences as they apply to the Olympics.
One, for example is by an epidemiologist considering the infectious disease implications of the sudden onrush of millions of people to a single two week event. Another author wonders if there shouldnt be more variety in the kinds of Olympic Games that exist. He suggests that perhaps there ought to be a separate set of games where the athletes are free to use whatever performance enhancing drugs they wish, just to see what feats they might be capable of achieving. Perhaps more realistic is a commentary piece by Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans, managing directors of Excel Venture Management, a group that builds companies around life science technologies. They suggest that like it or not, people with performance enhancing genetic alterations will likely very soon be competing against one another in the Olympics.
As it stands right now, the governing body of the Olympics has specifically outlawed the use of genetic engineering to enhance the performance of athletes participating in the games, insisting that it would give some of them an unfair advantage. The ruling is also an attempt to keep the games as safe as possible for athletes, even if it means preventing them from trying unproven genetic alterations.
But, the authors argue, that wont be the case for long. New research has found for example, that certain athletes have a 577R allele in their ACTN3 gene which has been found to contribute to better running ability. Its been found in virtually all male Olympic caliber runners and appears in 85% of people of African descent and 50% of those of Asian or European descent. Thus an argument could be presented that some people of a certain race have an unfair advantage and that others should be allowed to use genetic manipulation to level the playing field.
They also present an argument based on philosophical or ethical questions. What happens they say, if a genetic engineering procedure is discovered that will allow people to live longer with a better quality of life? Would Olympic athletes have to forfeit such a benefit if they wanted to be allowed to compete? At present, it would seem so, but thats likely only because such a procedure hasnt actually been developed yet.
As more research is conducted the authors write, more genetic variants will almost certainly be discovered that give different people different advantages in different sports. How will such information be used, and by whom? And how will those who make the rules on who can compete and who cant ever decide? At some point, they argue, the science will overwhelm the ability of authorities to govern the use of genetic enhancement which will lead to widespread use of genetic engineering to create what will most assuredly be, super athletes.
Journal reference: Nature
© 2012 Medical Xpress
- Many athletes with asthma may be using the wrong treatment Apr 24, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Summer Olympic athletes must overcome skin conditions to reach for the gold Apr 26, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Australia's Twitter warning to athletes Feb 28, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Anti-doping expert warns cheating athletes Sep 15, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- 'Sex-testing' regulations flawed and should be withdrawn: experts Jul 09, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
Northwestern University scientists have shown a gene involved in neurodegenerative disease also plays a critical role in the proper function of the circadian clock.
Genetics May 16, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Informed consent is the backbone of patient care. Genetic testing has long required patient consent and patients have had a "right not to know" the results. However, as 21st century medicine now begins to use the tools of ...
Genetics May 16, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 3 |
Ethicists provide framework supporting new recommendations on reporting incidental findings in gene sequencing
In a paper published in Science Express, a group of experts led by bioethicists in the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine provide a framework for the new American College of Medical Geneti ...
Genetics May 16, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
The use of genome-wide analysis (GWA), where the entirety of an individual's DNA is examined to look for the genomic mutations or variants which can cause health problems is a massively useful technology for diagnosing disease. ...
Genetics May 16, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
DNA databases might help identify victims of crime and human trafficking, but how do we safeguard the personal privacy of innocent victims and family members? A new report online May 15 in the Cell Press journal Trends in ...
Genetics May 15, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
The latest makeover to a massive psychiatric tome honored by some, reviled by others and even called the "Bible" of mental disorders is being released Saturday with a host of new changes.
5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A new case of the deadly coronavirus has been detected in Saudi Arabia where 15 people have already died after contracting it, the health ministry announced on Saturday on its Internet website.
5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Big names in medicine are set to give an upbeat assessment of the war on AIDS on Tuesday, 30 years after French researchers identified the virus that causes the disease.
16 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
17 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A ground-breaking advance in colonoscopy technology signals the future of colorectal care, according to research presented today at Digestive Disease Week(DDW). Additional research focuses on optimizing the minimal withdrawal ...
7 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0