Tarnished Medals? Genetic Engineering Will Change Olympics


Tarnished Medals? Genetic Engineering Will Change Olympics

Will the Olympics as we know it survive genetic engineering?

As scientists uncover theِ genes thatِ helpِ people becomeِ world-class sprinters orِ record-breaking skiers, theِ idea thatِ medals areِ won withِ justِ hard work, sweat andِ tears begins toِ feel outdated, according toِ theِ authors.
When youِ start sequencing theِ genes] ofِ lots andِ lots ofِ human beings, whatِ we’reِ goingِ to find outِ isِ that we’reِ moreِ differentِ than people hadِ realized, saidِ Steve Gullans, a managing director ofِ Excel Venture Management inِ Boston, whoِ co-wrote theِ piece withِ hisِ colleague Juan Enriquez.
Finnish cross-country skier andِ seven-time Olympic medalist Eero Mäntyranta, forِ example, carried a mutation inِ hisِ EPOR gene thatِ meant heِ produced upِ toِ 25 percent moreِ red blood cells thanِ the norm.

The genome and the Olympics

Gene doping hasِ beenِ banned byِ the International Olympic Committee sinceِ 2003, thoughِ theِ actual therapies thatِ couldِ boost athletic performance remain largely theoretical.
Nevertheless, gene therapy isِ becomingِ more common, raising newِ questions, Gullans said.
Would a child whoِ received theِ treatment foreverِ beِ banned fromِ the Olympics.

Genetic engineering and the rest of us

What Gullans, a formerِ Harvard Medical School professor, expects toِ see, however, isِ a faster ofِ discovery ofِ very rare genes — variations that, byِ themselves, haveِ a huge impact onِ performance.
Such discoveries couldِ change theِ world ofِ evenِ childhood sports, Gullans said.
We willِ haveِ that information, andِ it willِ beِ in theِ hands ofِ parents.

These tools wil be available, Gullans said.
They will become a part of everyday life.

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