Gene editing and the future of doping in sport | The Economist

Gene editing and the future of doping in sport | The Economist


it seems like something out of a sci-fi movie but what if you could hack your DNA to make you run faster jump higher will become stronger elite athletes are always looking for a competitive edge training hard to achieve peak performance but some take it further pushing beyond the natural limits of their bodies through artificial means anti-doping agencies try to stay one step ahead of the cheeks developing new tests to identify performance-enhancing drugs but there is a new technology on the horizon that could be a game-changer gene doping is when an athlete edits some of their genes to permanently alter their DNA enhancing their sporting performance can you imagine if we can actually edit our genes to make us Superman to enhance our bodies so that we can have longer and longer endurance with most doping agents you administer them and after a period time the effect wears off with gene doping you have the opportunity to have a permanent effect what they’re trying to do is to gain an unfair advantage by putting genetic material into their bodies to make them into super athletes many athletes are opposed to taking shortcuts to achieve victory levira and Lina Nielsen are identical twins who train and race together hoping to achieve their goal of Olympic glory we’ve both been running for about 10 years now but we’ve been trained professionally for about 3 years we know that if we want to compete really well become the summer then we have to train really hard in the winter and when we do get to training it’s it 100% commitment and so sometimes it means being at uni from 9:00 to 5:00 in the day and then comes to training at 6:00 p.m. and you know you’re pretty much mentally exhausted at that point but you just have to find that extra push my sister and I both clean athlete and we get randomly tested in competition but there are those people who will kill go there extra mile just to try and get that advantage in that their answer to that is to dope gene doping could have an even greater impact on the sport than performance-enhancing drugs because the effects can be permanent the changes are difficult to detect as the modified DNA appears as a natural part of the body at the time of conception genes from our mother and genes from our father are combined to make us the body then continues to reproduce those genes that we were born with imagine now if we could take an external gene that has been edited in order to enhance a muscle and that were to be injected into the body the body then would reproduce that modified gene and that’s what gene doping is at this moment gene editing is still at clinical trial stage and can have severe side effects from triggering cardiac arrests to causing cancer athletes who are willing to gene-dope could be putting their lives at risk what constitutes doping in sport has not always been clear-cut some treatments that could enhance performance are allowed under the world anti-doping agency if an athlete has a medical condition this has led to a blurring of the lines where athletes who follow the rules are called cheats Simone biles won four goals in Rio but some complained that the medication she took for ADHD gave her an unfair advantage as it increased her ability to focus hackers alleged she used a banned substance she responded on Twitter in some cases gene editing is just another form of therapeutic medicine and the treatment could revolutionize injury recovery by helping target muscle growth to a specific area of weakness we need sportsmen to be able to repair injuries if we could get a treatment that had no misuse potential then the debate must be about allowing it and this is the sticking point while for some gene editing may be a legitimate way to ensure a level playing field for injured athletes it is harder to answer the charge that it enhances performance when you have an injury that’s obviously part and parcel of sport and training and I think you should go over that in the most natural way that you can with all the risks in gene editing and the whole reason to dope just to win and then to get all those risks and side effects after you’ve you’ve retired it’s just not worth it the boundaries between science and sport are constantly shifting and while scientific advances should be welcomed it is important that they don’t undermine fair competition you [Music]

29 Replies to “Gene editing and the future of doping in sport | The Economist”

  1. How 'bout a one yr subscription for $50? In exchange I'll provide twelve other's gift subscriptions for the same deal. Thirteen possible second year subscribers. Let me know.

  2. Yea,… right. They can't even cure acne or the common cold, let alone find the cause,… but they're going to turn athletes into "super man"??? Fuck off!!

  3. I would like to see an alternative Olympic games where athletes are allowed all performance enhancing technologies. Pharmaceutical and scientific research companies could sponsor the athletes.

  4. Some have good genes while others have bad genes. Why can't those with bad genes join?
    Even if they tried harder than any Olympic athlete they can not compete because of genes.

    I think it's great because maybe we can gene manipulate people healthy, help people with extreme obesity to burn more fat and build more muscles and live a more healthier, happier life.

  5. Humans will have the ability to permanently alter our genes and people are worried about cheating in sports… By this logic anyone could get super athlete genes and sport for competition would become irrelevant.

    "But people could have different skill knowledge, training methodologies and motivation, so competition wouldn't be affected by genetic eveness."

    Got em.

    This is a non issue.

  6. What is the difference between inheriting a gene and having it inserted for a particular purpose? Are we saying you only deserve your talent if it is blessed upon you by random chance of the genetic lottery? Is that not the very antithesis of the competitive spirit, of merit, of having earned something? I feel like we're drawing lines here that we can't defend.

  7. 2034
    A Chinese Olympian lines up at the 100m final. The record of 8.5 seconds has been unbroken for the past 4 years. Ready. Set. He's lightning fast. Genetically engineered mitochondria and tendons give him speed unlike any human whose ever lived. 5.5 seconds. The record is shattered.

  8. You cannot genetic modify a person who is already born you would haft to edit someone before they are born at the zygote stage or in the sperm or egg so they wouldn't be able to choose to have an advantage as they arnt born this is just story to make an argument against genetic engineering.

  9. abrahamic's army will be a hundred times the size of the secular army… the secular army will have soldiers a THOUSAND times stronger than jihadists! = keep your "miracles"! bet on your never ending breeding! IN SCIENCE WE TRUST!

  10. Just make a new class of sport where all gene edited athletes compete, just like a server specifically for cheaters in titanfall

  11. Stupid idiots. Sports that don't allow drugs to be used are losing interest with people. People want to see amazing heights of athletic achievements. Natural is on the way out and should be with all the cheating that is going on with the Olympics. Good ridden's too…

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