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Expert comment on genetic testing

Victoria University’s Dr Nir Eynon, a researcher with the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living, is available to comment on the growing trend of using genetic testing to spot future sporting talent in children.

Dr Eynon was part of an international panel of 22 experts who have dismissed claims that genetic testing of children can identify sporting prowess and ability.

Writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the group said children and young athletes should not be subjected to genetic testing to check for future sporting talent or to boost performance because there is a lack of scientific evidence that it works.

Researchers expressed concerns that limited knowledge on the genetics of sports performance is being misused for commercial gain.

The panel also looked at the growing availability of do-it-yourself genetic tests which claim to be able to spot children’s athletic prowess or tailor training to maximise performance.

Dr Eynon said while the science of genomics – the study of genes and their functions – had advanced significantly over the past decade, the ability of scientists to interpret genetic test results was still at a relatively early stage.

This is partly due to the complexity of the human genome.

He pointed to Victoria University’s Gene SMART study which aims to identify genes responsible for muscle adaptions in response to high-intensity exercise training as a specific example of research that may advance knowledge in the field.

Dr Eynon is an Australian Research Council Early Career Fellow and a lead researcher at Victoria University’s Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living.

He is available for interview.

For interviews: Dr Nir Eynon 0451 440 796.

Media contact: [email protected]

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