Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Evidence Is Weak for Genetic Testing of Sporting Talent

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No child or young athlete should be subjected to genetic testing for sporting talent or to boost performance, according to a consensus statement published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (

The scientific evidence for the effectiveness of these commercial tests is simply far too weak to back their use, said the international panel of 22 experts in the fields of genomics, exercise, sports performance, disease, injury and anti-doping.

However, this lack of evidence has not hindered the growth of DIY genetic tests, which claim to be able to spot children’s athletic talent or tailor training to maximise performance. This burgeoning market has prompted fears that the current limited level of knowledge on the genetics of sports performance is being misrepresented for commercial gain, the statement says.

The panel found 39 companies marketing tests associated with sport or exercise performance or injury. In 2013 a similar review found 22, but 14 of these have ceased trading, meaning that 25 new companies have entered the market within the past 2 years.

Claims included: “Personalise your training based on your sports genetics,” “Gives parents and coaches early information on their child’s genetic predisposition for success in team or individual speed/power or endurance sports,” and “We use your DNA results to help you lose...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.