Monday, April 3, 2017

Can genetic testing identify if your child is a talented athlete?

for source see below

In recent years we have experienced the rise of an emerging market of direct-to-consumer* genetic testing that claims to be able to identify talented children who have the potential to become elite athletes. Applying good marketing these claims target the parents and the coaches. What is the truth? Do genetic tests help in talent identification?

A panel of world class experts evaluated the published literature and wrote a consensus paper which I believe should serve as the guideline document until further knowledge is developed. Below are the main points and concerns of the experts on the role of genetic testing in talent identification. As the experts claim:
- There is concern among the scientific community that the current level of knowledge is being misrepresented for commercial purposes
-“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

The experts’ conclusion is that … in the current state of knowledge, no child or young athlete should be exposed to direct-to-consumer genetic testing to define or alter training or for talent identification aimed at selecting gifted children or adolescents.”

To add on that piece of information, excellence in sports is not solely determined by genes. No doubt that one needs an appropriate genetic background which together with well planned, dedicated training, athlete’s willingness to excel and the family/social support may lead to high performance.

Those with more interest in the area can access the consensus paper from the British Journal of Sports Medicine for free here

*Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing refers to testing sold directly to consumers via the television, internet or other marketing venues without the involvement of  health care professionals.


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