Born to run? Maybe, but this gene switch had little to do with it

April 15, 2013|Patrick Maynard

BOSTON -- As athletes get ready for the 117th running of the Boston Marathon today, many will have mantras. One of my favorites, from septuagenarian marathoner Malcolm Brookes is "I can, I will, I am," but another popular one is "you were born for this." A group of British scientists wanted to check that out, testing whether a genetic switch associated with obesity had any effect on a person's likelihood of becoming a high-level distance athlete.

What they found -- published in the journal PLOS One this month -- was that any link between the FTO A/T polymorphism and a would-be-elite endurance athlete's hopes of a boffo career were statistically insignificant. Their wording:

There were no significantly greater/lesser odds of harbouring any type of genotype when comparing across athletic status (endurance athletes, sprint/power athletes or control participants). These effects were observed after controlling for sex and nationality. Furthermore, no significantly greater/lesser odds ratios were observed for any of the genotypes in respect to the level of competition (elite-level vs. national-level).

Read the full study here >>

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