Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Cheating Gene

Testosterone is a commonly used anabolic steroid by athletes to help them gain a competitive edge. The tension is especially high as the internationally known and celebrated Olympic Games is around the corner. This male hormone helps in increasing muscle size and strength as well as speeding up recovery from training or injuries.
But recent research has discovered that a common genetic variation may be a benefit to some athletes in helping them to beat testosterone-doping tests and get away with cheating. People with this genetic advantage have normal testosterone level even though they were injected with high levels of the steroid.
In the study, the research team selected 55 men participants of whom 15 percent of them had the important genetic change in the UGT2B17 gene which is generally involve in the secretion of testosterone. They were each injected with a 360-miligram dose of testosterone. Then, they were checked for signs of suspicious level of this male hormone over a 15-day period. The finding was that almost half of the individuals that carried this genetic variation would go undetected in a regular doping test after a single dose of 360-miligram testosterone.
This genetic change was most common in the East Asian countries like Japan, Korea and China, where about 65 percent of people carry the variation. However, the figure was only 10 percent or less for Caucasians and people of the African descent. Still, 10 percent is considered as a high number when genetic variation is the concern.
More research is needed on this. However, the main idea is that genetics profiles of each athlete have to be drawn up to determine their very own personal appropriate cut-off point for testosterones levels.

By Phey Siew Yoon (41584941)

International Herald Tribune 2008, Common Gene Variation May Hide Steroid,

Michael Kahn 2008, Gene Could Help Dope Cheats, Researchers Say, Guardian News and Media,,,-7429747,00.html

No comments: