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Gene doping could replace performance enhancing drugs - doctor

English.news.cn   2014-07-04 07:40:25

NAIROBI, July 3 (Xinhua) -- "Race" has always been a very sensitive topic, even more so is "race-genetics".

The latter is virtually taboo to discuss or even to mention as it embodies the ideology that certain aspects of who we are and what we are capable of is determined by "race"; the whole concept of nature versus nurture comes into play here.

"The concept of nature versus nurture has been tried and tested almost exhaustively when it comes to intelligence and still no definite conclusions have been drawn," Dr. Liz Odera, a Nairobi- based sports scientist, told Xinhua in Nairobi on Thursday.

"The concept of whether race has any part to play in determining which groups of people is to be good at what sports has not really been a focal point," Odera said.

This article is going to endeavor to explore whether race does indeed have anything to do with sporting prowess. The conclusions are however yours to draw.

Have you ever wanted to be the best in a certain sport? But no matter how hard you trained, or how focused you were to achieve your goal you couldn't quite make the cut.

Could this be that it was simply not "written in your genes" for you to succeed or be one of the best in the world at that specific sport?

Let's take a look at some examples. All Kenyan long-distance runners are from the Kalenjin tribe. Majority of all sprinters are of West African descent.

For example, all of the 32 finalists in the last four Olympic 100m races were of West Africa descent. Therefore the latter cannot be written as mere coincidence.

Then look at a country like the United States, which have people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds, yet they cannot produce a reputable football team.

Majority of the swimmers are from Australia, the U.S. and South Africa. They are all white and with muscular build.

Yet Africans of a darker hue who are renowned swimmers in the continent are yet to make it as the top few in the world, despite having the same training schedule and access to facilities - that is the Egyptians and the Algerians.

Has anybody stopped to think why the U.S., with their diverse population have not produced a colored swimmer vis-a-vis a white world class sprinter.

Odera says that with today's technology, one can determine the level of intelligence, eye color and so forth of a foetus, and queries whether will we someday be genetically determining whether to give birth to a world class runner or basketball player?

"Studies have explored the new emergence of gene doping. Can it be long before gene doping changes the nature of sport?" she poses.

It is being speculated the Olympic Games are soon going to lose natural athletes, a terrifying reality. It seems like human beings are heading towards becoming technologically modified machines.

Where winning is everything, athletes will seize any opportunity to gain an extra few split seconds of speed or a small boost in endurance.

Athletes build muscles through intensive training. But gene therapy could allow athletes to build more muscles, faster, and stay strong longer without further effort.

Human beings are by nature competitive creatures; history dictates that we will go to any lengths to succeed or more succinctly to assert our superiority to others.

In some cases, it is one country trying to assert its superiority and indeed domination over another, in other cases it is individuals.

Editor: Luan
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