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Sports Genetic Testing

Within recent years, there has been immense progress in techniques of molecular biology due to research on how genetics influence human performance. DNA varies tremendously between individuals. These variations define why individuals have different responses to certain stimuli, the response to sports training is with no exception!

What can determine an individual’s athletic ability? What are human sports performance limits? Also, what factors can limit your performance in sports? Most physiologists agree factors that can affect sports performance include motivation, environment, nutrition, and training.

These factors can offer a dramatic boost in athletic performance. However, at the same time, some of the physiologists also believe that our genetics play a huge role in sports performance, particularly the genes that are responsible for our muscle fiber type as well as cardiovascular endurance.

What type of role does genetics play in my athletic performance?

When it comes to sports genetic testing, a new genetics test has claimed to reveal athletic predispositions of a child. However, still, plenty of people are wondering about what genes will tell them about the sporting talent of an individual? Athletic performance is a pretty complex trait which is influenced by both environmental and genetics factors. Various physical traits can help in determining the athletic ability of individuals such as the muscle strength that can be used for rapid movement as well as predominant fibers type that is composing them.

Role of genetics in your athletic performance

Genetics used to shape us in different ways, our potential to excel in sports is with no exception. Overall, genes may have a larger influence over your muscle size and its’ fiber composition, strength, anaerobic threshold, flexibility, lung capacity as well as endurance to some extent. Fortunately, all of these traits are somewhere associated with your athletic performance.

The way specific genes are being expressed in your body can influence the strength and endurance of an athlete and can make them better at marathons or sprinting, for example. To find the genes for explosive force, speed, and endurance, scientists have to shift via an astounding number of variations within the human genome. There exists two variants that have impressed scientists that we will discuss below.

All and all, physiologists believe individuals may have the genetic potential to become an athletic champion. However, if you are living an overeating lifestyle with no regular exercise then you will unlikely accomplish that potential. However, on the other side, an individual with limited genetic potential may have the ability to find multiple ways that can help him or her in compensating and becoming a solid performer.

What can I know about my genetics that can help me be a better athlete?

What do you want to know about genetics that can help you in being a better athlete in the best possible way? Well, this is highly important for you to know! When a favorable profile of genetics is combined with an effective and optimal training environment, then this can help you achieve elite athletic performance.

Genetic variants associated with performance

There are various specific sequences and gene variants that have been linked with performance. However, two notable genetic variants that are known are ACTN3 and ACE. They have been linked with sports performance for decades.

Even more, the genetic variation role in the risk and outcomes of injury has been studied immensely. Sports genetic testing for susceptibility of injury can be effective in protecting young athletes all the way to pro athletes from serious injuries.

  • ACE: This was the very first genetic factor to be linked with the performance of humans, about 20 years ago. This variant is a part of the renin-angiotensin system that is responsible to control blood pressure via blood fluid levels regulation. The ACE I/I genotype has been linked with high exercise efficiency and endurance performance consistently. 

  • ACTN3: The genes code of ACTN3 for α-actinin-3 protein is a structural sarcomeric protein that can be found in muscle fibers of fast type II exclusively which is being used in explosive activities. A 23 studies’ meta-analysis examined ACTN3 association with sports performance. It has demonstrated increased performance probability in R carriers in power exercises. 

  • Sports genetic testing is becoming one of the most popular ways of talent identification at the present time. 

Even though there is a rise in sports genetic testing, evidence is lacking in terms of talent selection to predict performance.

When it comes to sports, can knowing your DNA give you that edge?

Sports genetic performance is a complex trait to study mainly because it depends on multiple factors. Since 1998, multiple polymorphisms have been linked with athletic phenotypes. However, when it is about sports genetic testing, information accumulation that has been generated over the past 15 years shows that genetics influence on the field of sports is extremely complex. 

DNA can give us an edge regarding sports. Athletic status and various cardiovascular muscular and endurance phenotypes are pretty heritable. These are also supporting genetic factors that play a role in accomplishment of athletic success. 

  • The ACE I/I and ACTN3 R/R genotypes are associated consistently with endurance performance and power-oriented athletic performance respectively.

  • Genetic variants can also alter risks or post-outcomes associated with injuries. However, more research is required in this aspect of the sports science field.

Genetic influence on response to training of an athlete

Your genes can also determine how your body responds to your athletic training, nutrition, recovery, as well as other external factors. 

Aerobic endurance related research shows that some people respond better compared with others. 

Even with low endurance genetic potential, an athlete may respond better to training and develop endurance potential compared with an individual with genetic talent who doesn’t respond to his athletic training properly. Overall, genetically blessed athletes can have a much greater response to their training compared to ones who are not genetically gifted. 

However, when it comes to the characteristics such as agility, accuracy, reaction time, and balance, genetics appeared to have a lesser influence over these traits. While most of these skills can be improved with proper and regular training in a great way.

Is it trial and error with my nutrition and training routine if I don’t test my DNA?

The training industry is evolving with new tools and tactics every day. Knowing what foods you should be having and avoiding can make all the difference in the world. Learning how your body responds to endurance or power-based exercises as well as faster recovery is a game-changer. 

In the previous years, people were limited to trial and error with their training and nutrition to find an optimal nutrition and training routine. However, new DNA tests can uncover the potential of an individual as well as help them train towards their genetic strengths. This is not only effective to get to know more about your suitable options but also to achieve your training and nutrition goals in the best possible way.

Final Words

Athletic performance is determined by various factors such as psychological and physiological profile, motor behavior, development opportunities, nutrition, overall health condition, fitness, training, and overall genetics. All of these factors together are creating a certain formula that can help anyone in becoming a successful athlete.

It’s no secret anymore that has sports ability is influenced by genetics. Determining exactly what you should be doing with your genetic results is the key that we are all searching for.