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Sports Scoop: Can Genes Change Your Game?

Sports Genes Title
The world of sports has always been demanding. It demands energy, discipline, rigorous practice, good sportsman spirit, honed skill set and much more! Renowned athletes not only excel in their fields but also have more to offer! Did you know that some are born or are”genetically” gifted.
They are meant to be a part of the athletic world : Read on to find out!

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  • BOLT is a genetic freak – he is 6’5” but accelerates faster than most! completes 100M in 41 steps!“Bolt is a genetic freak because being 6ft 5ins tall means he shouldn’t be able to accelerate at the speed he does given the length of his legs,” says former Great Britain sprinter Craig Pickering. Bolt typically completes a 100m race in about 41 steps !!!
  • Mäntyranta’s EPOR mutation (gene that doubled his oxygen-carrying red blood cells)  contributed to 40 second lead in 1964 Winter Olympics!Mäntyranta’s EPOR mutation was considered “evidence” of a “sports gene”—a single genetic variant that has the ability to turn someone into a superior athlete. EPOR gene is known to be indirectly responsible for red cell production, that pump oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. A mutation in this gene basically allowed Mäntyranta’s body to produce about 50 percent more oxygen-carrying red blood cells than a normal person. 1964 Winter Olympics,  witnessed his  unbeatable winin  the 15 kilometer cross-country skiing competition by a 40 second lead. That same year, he also won the 30 kilometer race by a full minute. Did genetics contribute/play a hand in  this Finnish skier’s success?shutterstock_229755619
  • Phelps has virtual flippers : size 14 feet with an extra 15 degrees  bending ability!“Phelps is also said to be double-jointed”, according to a Detroit News blog. His size-14 feet reportedly bend 15 degrees farther at the ankle than most other swimmers, turning his feet into virtual flippers. This flexibility also extends to his knees and elbows, possibly allowing him to get more out of each stroke.
  • 8 month old toddler with myostatin genetic mutation can do a pull up!Certain super strong babies have been reported since 1999. Toddlers that could do a difficult gymnast move called the iron cross, 5 months old and a pull-up at eight months. Before you ask me..no he wasn’t the son of the Hulk, nor was he experimented upon – he had a genetic mutation in his myostatin genes, which are responsible for regulating muscle growth in the body!Infographic of Sports Gene
  • John Doe with rare dense bone genetics survived a car crash without a single scratch!Real life superhero story anyone? In 1994, a John Doe, was involved in a devastating car crash. Fearing the worst he was rushed to the emergency room. Imagine the shock on the face of the doctors, when they realised he had not fractured a single bone! Not even a hairline fracture on his spine! This man suffered from a rare genetic mutation that causes your bones to become very very dense. His bone density was more than 8 times that of a normal human! Oh..poor guy couldn’t swim though. Sank like a stone every time!
  • Donald Thomas beat Stefan Holm (2004 Olympic gold medalist) by learning High jump in 8 months!Two high jumpers also present a similar case: 2004 Olympic gold medalist Stefan Holm had trained for 20 years; his competitor, the one who won the gold at the 2007 world championships, Donald Thomas, took up the sport just eight months before the games! Can your genes help you train faster?
  • NBA Star athletes have some TALL Genes : LeBron James – 6’8’’, Dwayne Wade is 6’4″!NBA All-Star LeBron James, the basketball prodigy is tall — 6 foot 8 inches. But his wingspan is seven feet! Teammate Dwayne Wade is 6’4″ — his arms are 6’11” across. Can your genes alter human anatomy to make it more pro-sport?
  • The shorter the gymnast – the better the flip! Average height has shrunk from 5’3″ to 4’9″!!!“Elite female gymnasts in the last 30 years have shrunk from 5’3″ to 4’9″ on average,” said Epstein. “Better for them to rotate in the air.” Smaller frames and body structure for a balance beam – could that be inherited in genes?
  • Howard Schatz’s portraits of sports stars begs us to wonder if these people ranging from 95-pound figure skaters to 700-pound sumo wrestlers — are even from the same species? We often wonder looking at their speed and strength, that what could motivate them towards the 10,000 hour practice. How can they endure so much more?
  • Kenya’s environment and climate  has provided  eight of the Top 10 fastest marathon runners!A small tribe in Kenya’s Rift Valley has provided eight of the Top 10 fastest marathon times ever recorded.  How is  Kenya’s training regime working such wonders? “Did you know that hot and dry climate causes the evolutionary adaptation of very long, slender body types,” said Epstein, “Long legs proportional to body size, which is good for running, and very thin at the extremities, and that’s an adaptation for cooling.” Thin legs indicate that it takes less energy to run. Growing up at high altitude produces great endurance.

 

Do you have what it takes?

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“Some are born great, some achieve great and some have greatness thrust upon them! “

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About the Author

pallavi

Dr. Pallavi Jain is part of the Scientific Team at Mapmygenome. She has a Bachelors Degree in Biochemistry with Genetics and a PhD in Molecular Medicine (UK). She recently completed an intensive course in IVF from Origio, Mumbai. She enjoys swimming and reading.

Mapmygenome

2 Comments

  1. Hello I want to know what is the process to test
    which sport my child can do better
    Where can the test be done

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