Article Review: Genetic Research In Sport


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This is an article about a committy a scientists that is reviewing the potential benefits and ethical concerns of recent genetic research. The group includes Dr Williams, Drs Henning Wackerhage (Aberdeen University), Andy Miah (University of Paisley), Roger Harris (University of Chichester) and Hugh Montgomery (University College London). They published and advisory paper and presented it at the British Association of Sport & Exercise Sciences annual meeting/ In their report outline the impact the genetic scientific knowledge will and does have on the sports community as well as the general public. As with all technology and research; genetics has the power to do much good for that world, but also much harm.

The points of concern are that this research could be used as a basis of particular ethnic groups to claim racial superiority. There are ethical concerns about identifying athletic ability before birth should be considered as well as imposing mandatory genetic testing upon athletes. Also to be considered is the potential that individuals will begin selective abortions based on fetuses genetic potential. Positive prospects of genetic testing and research are that it could lead to cures and treatments for various diseases and exercise programs or drugs to slow muscle waste in old age.

Genetic testing concerns all of us in that we are all human and part of a global community that may begin to bring into question genetic validity of individuals, gene mutation, selective breeding and birthing as the worlds population continues to rise and the gene pool and its diseases worsen. Also members of sports teams will come in contact with the latest sports drugs; gene doping. The sports world itself will change as athletic potential and other performance tests and enhancements come into mainstream sport. Positive effects of genetic research are already coming into our healthcare systems. Treatments and cures for all sorts of genetic diseases are being tested, researched. Genetic testing is the new front of science.

Knowledge is dangerous in the hands of humans. Throughout history every great discovery has had equally terrible repercussions; The spear, a tool to acquire abundance of food and a weapon of death. The wheel; a invention of travel and labour saving, and a method for the spread of armies and disease. Splitting the atom; nuclear power and medical research, a weapon of mass destruction. Genetics is just another one of these great discoveries, and it is already causing it's own problems; gene testing combating gene doping. The ability to play with our physical composition is the ultimate power, and we must be careful.

In summary the article helps to show the dangers and benefits of the latest genetic testing. It is good that committees of scientists are being considerate and critical of their own work. This may represent a trend in science that we as humans may be taking into consideration what the possible TERRIBLE effects of our own inventions and discoveries could be.


University of Bath (2007, September 21). Genetic Research In Sport: Benefits And Ethical Concerns. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 13, 2010, from­ /releases/2007/09/070913132916.htm