DNA Tests For Sports 

By  Editorial Team

This is the abstract from the research article published at http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/49/23/1486.abstract.    This is a creative commons publication.

The general consensus among sport and exercise genetics researchers is that genetic tests have no role to play in talent identification or the individualised prescription of training to maximise performance. Despite the lack of evidence, recent years have witnessed the rise of an emerging market of direct-to-consumer marketing (DTC) tests that claim to be able to identify children’s athletic talents. Targeted consumers include mainly coaches and parents. There is concern among the scientific community that the current level of knowledge is being misrepresented for commercial purposes. There remains a lack of universally accepted guidelines and legislation for DTC testing in relation to all forms of genetic testing and not just for talent identification. There is concern over the lack of clarity of information over which specific genes or variants are being tested and the almost universal lack of appropriate genetic counselling for the interpretation of the genetic data to consumers. Furthermore independent studies have identified issues relating to quality control by DTC laboratories with different results being reported from samples from the same individual. Consequently, in the current state of knowledge, no child or young athlete should be exposed to DTC genetic testing to define or alter training or for talent identification aimed at selecting gifted children or adolescents. Large scale collaborative projects, may help to develop a stronger scientific foundation on these issues in the future.

The ‘scienceploitation’ of Direct-to-Consumer Genetic testing for Talent ID
We need to be able to critically review information—another important reason for sport and exercise medicine to get to grips with the new world of ‘Omics’. Sequencing or genotyping is much cheaper now and therefore readily available, but the interpretation of results is still at an early stage. It is, in fact, open to what has been termed ‘scienceploitation’.

Researchers can be blamed for overemphasising the validity of research findings in the game of publication pursuit, which can be exploited for commercial purposes. We have recently seen the emergence of Direct-to-Consumer testing, for the purpose of talent identification and to assess potential for future sports performance, being sold to the unsuspecting public. ‘Pay $100–$200 and we will tell if you have a future champion on your hands’. There are nearly 40 companies, worldwide, offering analyses of saliva or buccal smear samples without counselling or consideration of the validity of the results or the impact of the report. Many will then offer the opportunity to buy their supplements to enhance training. The consensus agreement (from the researchers who performed the studies that these companies quote), is that, at present, DNA testing has no role. SEM physicians need to discourage any parent, child or coach from using these tests.  This is the abstract from the research article published at http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/49/23/1486.abstract.    This is a creative commons publication.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}