feature article - genetic engineering in athletes ... - 9LScienceJournal


11 Δεκ 2012 (πριν από 5 χρόνια και 7 μήνες)

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Genetic engineering affects the sporting world because athletes can use
"gene doping" to enhance their performance and is undetectable in drug tests.
Athletes are able to use this expensive p
rocess to make themselves
physically stronger or give them improved endurance. This gives gene doped
athletes an advantage over normal athletes.

There have been certain cases found where athletes have had an advantage
over other athletes without the use o
f drug doping. Eero Mantyranta, a Finnish

country skier had a natural genetic advantage over other athletes. He
won two gold medals in the 1964 Winter Olympic Games but was said to have
something in his blood that gave him an added advantage in the

He was tested for drugs but was never found positive. Scientists later
discovered that he was born with an abnormality in his DNA. This abnormality
meant that he produced an overly large amount of red blood cells which
provided him with more
oxygen. With this unusual amount of red blood cells,
Mantyranta was indomitable.

Moving genes directly into human cells to merge with an athlete’s DNA is
called gene doping. Gene doping can block natural chemicals in the athlete’s
body by adding red blood

cells and muscle resulting in improved endurance,
strength or muscle growth. Usually new genes are introduced through risk
free viruses.

"They are like moving vans for cargo," Theodore Friedmann, a genetics
researcher at the University of California at S
an Diego says.

In this case, the cargo is the gene. The virus is injected, with the gene, directly
into tissue, effectively loading athletes with the genes they want, says Kyle
Serikawa, a lab manager at the University of Washington.

Scientists now belie
ve that one day the athletes that aren’t born with these
“lucky” genes could add them whenever they want to. This would not be
cheating with drugs but injections of DNA which is known as “gene doping.”
The idea is to steal the best genes, to become a bette
r athlete. "Gene doping"
could almost be impossible to detect unlike other performace enhancing drugs
and this has got sport officials worried.


“Athletes are probably already ahead of us” said Theodore
Friedmann, a genetics researcher at the Uni
versity of California at San Diego.

Genes that tone up muscles would be perfect for athletes that crave quick
power bursts and genes that increase blood flow would be perfect for
endurance athletes.


“Marathoners typically boast four times more
blood vessels
feeding their muscles than sprinters. So for an athlete who needs to go the
distance, the more blood vessels you have the better” said biologist Peter
Schjerling of the Copenhagen Muscle Research Centre in Denmark.

Athletes starting to use g
enetic engineering in order to enhance their athletic
abilities are concerning the International Olympic Committee. They believe
that if people are prepared to genetically change their children to make them
better athletes then it's likely that they would
change them to gain certain
characteristics such as attractiveness, smarter and whatever their parents
want to give them to make them superior or better than others. The people
against genetic engineering believe that by letting people do this we will
tually create a superhuman race thus not being normal anymore. People
that agree with using genetic engineering believe that it has already happened
in a way because parents send their children to better schools so they
become smarter.