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Applied genomics: personalized interpretation of athletic performance genetic association data for sports performance capability and injury reduction

Melanie Swan

Abstract


Background: Personal genomics applications so far have focused mainly on assessing ancestry, carrier status, health risk, and drug response. Athletic performance is another potential application area, using genetic analysis to determine an individual’s sports performance capability and potential risk for injury.

Objectives: The objective of this analysis was to review the existing body of athletic performance genetics literature and synthesize the results into a tool that may be readily applied to interpreting athletic performance capability and potential risk for injury on an individualized basis using personal genotyping data.

Findings: Athletic performance genetic studies are not as robust as those for disease, however 100 existing studies were reviewed and synthesized into a tool as an example of the kind of comprehensive analysis that may be conducted in personalized genome interpretation. The most strongly associated 52 variants in 36 genes were grouped into five categories: endurance and power, musculature, heart and lung capacity, metabolism, and ligament and tendon strength.

Conclusions: A variety of audiences may find athletic performance genomics useful including professional athletes, amateur racers, sports enthusiasts, and laypersons. In the contemplated era of personalized medicine and widespread genomic sequencing, it will be important to have tools for the expedient interpretation of genomic data. Athletic performance genomics may influence individuals to have greater participation in their health self-management through identifying and enhancing natural athletic abilities, improving areas with less favorable predisposition, and reducing risk of injury.

 


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