This month's Bicycling
magazine includes an extensive article on using DNA tests to determine your athletic performance potential and risk for certain injuries. CyGene Laboratories
tested Ned Overend
and his son Rhyler to determine if Rhyler had the same genetic makeup to enable him to become as great an athlete as his father (he does for the most part).
Scientific evidence suggests that muscle growth, cardiac output and other factors influence physical performance and are associated with certain genes. Other genes can help identify weaknesses in certain physical areas such as bone strength and neurological predispositions to injury.
The CyGene Athletic Performance test analyzes six gene types to find out if you are predisposed to perform better at endurance (aerobic) or strength (anaerobic) athletics. The specific genes measured are BR2, ACE, APOE, Vitamin D Receptor, VDR Bsml, VDR Fokl and eNOS. ACE determines how efficiently oxygen rich blood is delivered to the muscles and BR2 helps relax blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and allows for greater blood flow. The more efficient your blood vessels are at delivering oxygen to the muscles, the more predisposed you are for endurance related sports since these activities predominantly require aerobic energy.
The test aims to give you a useful insight into the genetic components of your athletic ability and will provide you with recommendations on how to make your genetics work for you when choosing a fitness program, sport or training regime.
Genes alone do not make elite athletes and DNA testing has its limits currently (for example Atlas Sports Genetics claims gene ACTN3 is more important), but I think it would be interesting to find out whether you may be predisposed to be a sprinter or an Ironman Triathlete.
For $99.95, CyGene will mail you a cheek swab kit with return envelope. After the lab testing is complete, you can view a personalized online report that explains your test results including interpretations of your genes and risks, follow-ups and recommendations.