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With personal genetic testing becoming a reality in the last decade, the information wrapped inside the human genome is becoming uncovered. The vast array of genetic applications range from screening for heritable diseases, testing for lifespan, and discovering genealogy. Genetic test results have also been inappropriately utilized in assessing the talent of youth athletes.
There are reports of parents using genetic testing to guide their children into certain sports or disciplines based on results. Lessons learned from others in the sports genetics industry, and from published scientific findings substantiate that using genetic data as a decision-maker for determining a child’s future sport is an improper use of genetic information.
Talent identification comes in many shapes and forms, but generally defines the process by which specific metrics are used to identify athletes who have remarkable potential for success in a given sport or discipline, especially in young athletes (6). These metrics are complex and vary by sport, but generally include body composition, VO2 max, strength, and sport-specific skills such as stick handling in hockey.
But can genes determine talent? Based on the state of genetic research and technology today, the answer is no. There is currently no scientific basis for predicting what sports or activity an athlete will excel at based on their genetics. While other groups in the sports genetics field may try to exploit this notion, we believe it is not possible based on today’s state of scientific knowledge.
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