Genotyping Jamaica’s best sprinters may reveal genes linked to speed


Jamaica has the best sprinters in the world. Why should we not also genotype them?

The key is sample size. If you have only the genes of Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson, and a few others, you can say nothing. But if you have 130 elite sprinters, you can. As a group they make up about half of the top sprinters in the world.

Jamaica has a very interesting history, genetically, on its West African side. The British kept excellent records. The slaves came from Senegal (the Wolof and Sera), all the way down 800 miles of coast to the Ibo and Yoruba of Nigeria, including the Twi of Ghana and numerous groups in-between, with none contributing more than 20 per cent. This huge genetic variation was itself advantageous and, if there was any positive selection on the island for speed, either to escape the authorities or to show off in competition against others, with female choice ruling, further genetic improvement would be very likely.


The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Genetics’ role must be explored

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