Can home DNA test expose skills for sports?

man working out

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s often determined through trial and error, whether someone will succeed in a certain sport. Now, a home DNA test is examining the genetics behind an athlete’s abilities.

Practice, skill and dedication, are all factors that make an athlete great. So, could a home DNA test help someone know their strengths?

“There are some genetic variants in each of these genes that affect athletic performance,” explained Dr. Grant Bitter, Founder of Genomic Express in California.

For $99, people can now learn the genetic make-up of their muscles with the ACTN3 test.

“For sports we have a couple genetic tests that we offer, and they basically are genes that encode certain proteins and affect athletic performance,” explained Dr. Bitter.

Bitter said there are three possible genotypes. He claims the DNA test will reveal which genes can give someone an advantage in athletics.

For example, R/R gives someone the power or sprint advantage, X/X can give someone an advantage in endurance, and R/X contributes to power and endurance.

The DNA test can be ordered online, and consists of a simple and painless swab of the mouth. The sample is then mailed in, and results are posted within 3-5 days of receipt.

KRQE News 13 asked people in Albuquerque if they would use the DNA test on themselves or their kids, to try and find out what they may be good at later in life.

“I would I think it would be a great thing to do, I think it would be something fun to find out, and see if you’re kind of on the right path or if you can change a few things and get more out of the time you’re spending,” said Ashley Wines.

However, some people think the data may be a double edged sword.

“You don’t want to rule anybody out just on a test,” explained Jim Lezeau, Personal Training Performance Manager at Defined Fitness.

Lezeau said people may use the test results to push or slack off on their own, or their kids’ potential.

“Whatever their goals are to me, the sky is the limit,” said Lezeau. “I don’t really care if you’re pre-disposed to a certain strength, or power. That doesn’t mean that we still can’t help people get into that.”

Wines pointed out, “it takes a long time to learn how to train for your body type.” Time spent training is something both Wines and Lezeau said the DNA test can possibly help with.

“As a potential pre-curser, yeah it might be good to know that,” said Lezeau, referring to the test results.

Bitter said the test can’t predict whether someone will be a star athlete, but it can provide information to set people on the right path. He explained people can use the data to help guide the way they train for sports.

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