Genetic Determinism: Endurance Athletes
In 1999, scientists reported that a particular variant of the angiotensin–converting enzyme (ACE) gene was associated with superior physical endurance. The variant, known as the ACE insertion polymorphism, was found to be present in a higher proportion of elite endurance athletes, especially long distance runners, than in the general population.
Marathon University (MU) is offering full–tuition scholarships and a guaranteed spot on the varsity track team to high school sophomores who "pass" a genetic test. If the parents sign a consent form, University doctors will screen them for the ACE insertion polymorphism.
- Is it likely that a single gene determines physical endurance?
- Are other genes likely to be important?
- What other factors determine whether a child will grow up to be an elite endurance athlete?
- Should parents be allowed to use genetic information to make decisions that will limit their children's choices in adulthood?
- What else should MU do if it is concerned about the well being of the future student-athlete?
Last Updated: April 2, 2012