Genetics and sports performance: the present and future in the identification of talent for sports based on DNA testing.
Abstract: The impact of genetics on physiology and sports performance is one of the most debated research aspects in sports sciences. Nearly 200 genetic polymorphisms have been found to influence sports performance traits, and over 20 polymorphisms may condition the status of the elite athlete. However, with the current evidence, it is certainly too early a stage to determine how to use genotyping as a tool for predicting exercise/sports performance or improving current methods of training. Research on this topic presents methodological limitations such as the lack of measurement of valid exercise performance phenotypes that make the study results difficult to interpret. Additionally, many studies present an insufficient cohort of athletes, or their classification as elite is dubious, which may introduce expectancy effects. Finally, the assessment of a progressively higher number of polymorphisms in the studies and the introduction of new analysis tools, such as the total genotype score (TGS) and genome-wide association studies (GWAS), have produced a considerable advance in the power of the analyses and a change from the study of single variants to determine pathways and systems associated with performance. The purpose of the present study was to comprehensively review evidence on the impact of genetics on endurance- and power-based exercise performance to clearly determine the potential utility of genotyping for detecting sports talent, enhancing training, or preventing exercise-related injuries, and to present an overview of recent research that has attempted to correct the methodological issues found in previous investigations.
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