Are Athletic Genes Real?

Are you wondering if athletic genes are real? Read here to find out if athletic genes are real and what that could mean for you.

The most recent estimates from researchers have determined that there are just under 20,000 genes in the human body. Diligent scientists have also found out that there are over three billion DNA base pairs.

But what do all of these scientific terms and objective measures mean when looking at athletic genes? There has been a long-standing debate over whether the skills of Michael Jordan or the durable nature of Tom Brady is related to genetic dispositions.

Are you wondering if your lack of athletic abilities has any relation to DNA sequencing? If so, then keep reading on to learn more about genetics and how it relates to athletic performance.

What Are Genes?

Genes are truly one of America’s last frontiers in the world of science. There are still many unknowns when it comes to diving into the finite details of the human body.

To understand DNA tests and genetic test results, it is helpful to know what exactly a gene is in the first place. For starters, genes are what give people their hereditary traits and characteristics.

Some genes are made up of specific codes for instruction through what is known as DNA. Not all genes have these instruction manuals. Many genes in the human population are actually identical.

However, there are a few key differences that give individuals unique characteristics.

Some genes - called alleles - provide differences in physical characteristics between individuals. In fact, these alleles only make up less than one percent of genes.

Since genes come from a male and female, you have likely inherited certain features and characteristics from them. These can be simple physical attributes such as blue eyes.

However, you can also inherit or become more predisposed to developing diseases. Some common diseases with a stronger genetic link are breast cancer or Huntington’s disease.

Some genes are easy to locate and correlate with specific traits, characteristics, or diseases. For instance, the gene for Huntington’s disease is more obvious than the genetic sequencing for why someone has migraines.

Recent Advances

Each year, studies on genetics are leading to new insights and discoveries. Recently, the discovery of the epigenome has provided a greater understanding of how genes function and evolve.

The epigenome can attach to DNA strands and essentially control the instruction codes for genes. This new discovery begs the question of how the epigenome works in turning on or off certain genes.

While turning genes on and off is one characteristic of the epigenome, it also holds a much grander function. When an epigenome attaches itself to the DNA, it holds the instruction manual. In return, this determines how the gene will respond to environmental factors.

For example, if someone smokes or is exposed to a disease, the epigenome changes. These changes affect the instruction manual which can actually cause more harm to the human body.

One of the best examples of this change in epigenomes and genomes is seen with cancer. Cancer is the definition of abnormal cues in the body that lead to devastating effects.

Athletic Genes

By now, you likely have a better understanding of the complexity of genetic sequencing. Genetic testing looks towards identifying markers on genomes. These markers provide a better understanding of physical attributes, diseases, and other traits.

The study of athletic traits looks at markers that lead to better physical performances. Studies have found that the environment and genetics play a role in athletic performance.

The role of genetics in athletic performance is a bit unclear. Scientists theorize that genes play a role in someone’s athletic ability anywhere from 30% to 80%.

There are two genes that are thought to play the largest role in athletic traits. These genes are ACTN3 and ACE. The ACTN3 gene works with fast-twitch muscle fibers which are useful in athletic events that require power or speed.

Variants in the ACTN3 gene are suspected to have an association with endurance athletes. When a variant in the ACTN3 gene occurs, it reduces the amount of fast-twitch muscle fibers and leads to a greater amount of slow-twitch fibers.

Slow-twitch fibers are ideal for long-distance runners, swimmers, or cyclists. The ACE gene and its variants also have close ties with the development and production of fast-twitch fibers.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to tell whether or not you have these variants unless undergoing DNA testing. This testing gives a better understanding of the markers and sequencing of your genes.

Future Studies

The complexity of genetic sequencing results in difficulties determining athletic traits. In most scenarios, there is not one definitive marker on a genome. In fact, there are usually dozens of markers that influence the development of traits.

Additionally, the majority of research in genetics is focused on deadly illnesses or diseases. For example, scientists have studied coronary artery disease fairly extensively. They have found that there are around 100 different locations that are indicative of it.

Because of this, it is extremely challenging to locate exact markers for developing a disease. The same goes for athletic abilities. The ACTN3 gene and ACE gene are two strong indicators of athletic performance.

However, that does not indicate that someone is completely predisposed to excelling at athletics. The findings are showing that it is much more complicated than that and is a combination of someone’s work environment, support system, and genetic disposition, to name a few.

Testing Results

It is safe to say that athletic genes are not indicative of someone becoming a professional athlete or slumming it on the couch. There are indicators that some people are likely to excel in certain athletic feats more than others.

Keep in mind, your environment is equally as likely to play a role in your genetic markers. If you are interested in learning more about your own genetic sequencing, then visit our site and register for a free account today.

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