A Review: Genetics as a Predictor for Success for Elite Athletes Performing in Power vs. Endurance Sports

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A Review: Genetics as a Predictor for Success for Elite Athletes Performing in Power vs. Endurance Sports


Common wisdom tells us that a sprinter is highly unlikely to excel in a marathon, and vice versa. It is easy to conceive that genetic variation is a major source of such differences in athletic ability. Actually identifying these genetic causes requires classification of athletic traits and in depth data analysis. Every year the number of polymorphisms that are candidates to clarify individual variations in sports performance increases. The growth of complexity and disproportion between studies parallels with advances in sports genetics. Additionally, there are numerous factors that play a part in these studies of elite athletes. These factors include gender, size of population, ethnic origin or level of competition of candidates, and the statistical approaches all make correlations between studies difficult. Recent studies support the possibility of developing polygenic profiles that could be used as a method to determine an athlete’s genetic predisposition to certain sports and events.
A recent study conducted by Buxens et al., investigated the correlation between genetic polymorphisms and world-class endurance vs power athletes. Their research was published in an academic journal and was titled; “Can we predict top-level sports performance in power vs endurance events? A genetic approach”. The goal of their study was to discriminate potential genetic differences between athletes who are in both endpoints of the sports performance continuum, that being endurance vs. power (Buxens et al.).
In this experiment, the population studied consisted of one hundred males aging 20 to 39 who competed within the last 10 years at an exceptionally high level. Of the one hundred males, fifty were world-class endurance runners who were European champions and Olympic…...

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