The Genetics of Athletic Performance: A Narrative Review of Key Findings
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Keywords:Athletic performance, Genetics, Genes, Genetic testing, Elite athletes
This narrative review article provides an overview of the role of genes in determining athletic performance. The article begins by introducing the topic of genes and athletic performance and provides context on why this topic is important. The science of genes and athletic performance is then discussed, with a focus on the concept of polygenic inheritance and the various types of genes that may impact athletic performance, including those related to muscle structure, oxygen utilization, and energy production. The limitations of current scientific understanding in this area are also addressed. The article then delves into the role of genes in endurance and power sports, discussing the various genes that may impact performance in these areas and summarizing the scientific evidence for the impact of genes on performance. The growing popularity of genetic testing among athletes is then discussed, with an evaluation of the scientific validity and ethical implications of such testing. The article provides recommendations for athletes considering genetic testing. In conclusion, the article discusses several genes that may influence athletic performance, including ACTN3, ACE, PPARGC1A, NRF2, and VEGFA. These genes are involved in muscle strength, oxygen use, energy production, and cellular stress response, among other factors. Certain genetic variants, such as the RR genotype of ACTN3 and the II genotype of ACE, have been associated with better endurance performance. The article suggests that understanding genetic factors could help identify individuals with athletic potential and inform training strategies.
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