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Comment: genetic test available for sports performance
  1. J Savulescu1,
  2. B Foddy2
  1. 1Uehiro Chair of Practical Ethics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  2. 2Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 Bennett Foddy
 Ethics Unit, Murdoch Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria 3052, Australia;

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Genetic testing for sports performance introduces ethical problems for parents

For the first time, we can now obtain a cheap and non-invasive genetic test, which tells us not if we have a disease or whether we are related to our parents, but what kind of sports we are likely to be good at.

For AUD$110, the Australian company Genetic Technologies will test a cheek swab for the R577X variant of the ACTN3 gene. This gene normally produces the protein α-actinin-3, which helps to produce the fast twitch muscles used in sprint and power sports. The R577X variant is a common version of this gene which produces less of this protein. People with this variant therefore will grow less fast twitch muscle tissue in their body.

The test does not identify whether a person is good or bad at sport or …

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  • Competing interests: none declared