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Olympic genes? China will use genetic tests to help choose its athletes

| | September 12, 2018
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Chinese athletes aiming to represent their country in the 2022 Winter Olympics will undergo genetic testing as part of the official selection process, a document posted by the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology has revealed.

“Complete genome sequencing will be applied on outstanding athletes competing in the winter games for speed, endurance and explosive force, with at least 300 athletes in each group,” the document said.

As is the case throughout the world, Chinese Olympic athletes are traditionally selected through a series of trials and competitions. Although it does not appear that these athletic performance tests will be canceled, genetic test results will also be looked at.

Some Chinese researchers raised concerns and came out against the plan.

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“Every person is born with the right to participate in sports,” Wang Huan, a researcher with the China Institute of Sport Science in Beijing, told the daily. “Each individual has their advantages and disadvantages. The spirit of sport is to overcome weakness and fight for the best … People should not be judged by the way they were born, but what they strive to become.”

Nir Eynon, who researches genetics and athletic performance at Australia’s Victoria University, told Gizmodo earlier this year that scientists were still unsure of how to determine the way someone’s genetics specifically impacted their athletic abilities.

“We just don’t know,” Eynon said.

Read full, original post: China will begin using genetic testing to select Olympic athletes

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