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Bigger, Faster, Stronger...

Kevin Van Valkenburg reports in todays Baltimore Sun on the next big frontier in athletics, and it's not good news.

Sometime in the near future, an athlete might walk into a lab and ask for an injection that, with the prick of the needle, will bring a world of possibility. Take this and hit home runs like Barry Bonds, the athlete would be told. Take it and fly around the track like Marion Jones.

This might sound like another story about steroids, back in the headlines after baseball announced Thursday that it was adopting a stricter testing policy amid calls for reform, but it's not. The topic is genetic doping.

Because it uses DNA to stimulate or block natural chemicals - chemicals that make changes within the body at the cellular level - it won't show up in a blood or urine test.

With billions of dollars at stake every year in sports and the lure of fame stronger than ever, gene doping is expected to be the next major issue for sports to confront. Experts in the field of genetic research predict it could happen in five or 10 years. Or sooner.

"I don't think it would surprise any of us if tomorrow we picked up a newspaper and saw that [an athlete] had died of a stroke after getting involved with gene therapy," said Dr. Theodore Friedmann, director of the gene therapy program at the University of California at San Diego. He is considered by many to be the world's leading authority in the field.

Genetic doping has the potential to make a mockery of what is currently considered fair athletic competition.

Sort of like the NFC Divisional playoffs.

Comments (9)

'Genetic doping has the pot... (Below threshold)

'Genetic doping has the potential to make a mockery of what is currently considered fair athletic competition.' What if genetic doping could be used to enhance a Bloggers' ability to post continuously or with great intelligence? Would that be OK?

This is old news, we were t... (Below threshold)

This is old news, we were talking about this in 1997 in the BB community. There's guy who goes by the name "Flex" in Europe who claims he has no myostatin gene. Sooner or later someone will get together enough money to design a viable gene-therapy to duplicate what he has naturally. And people will do it knowing full well the risks. It's another Achilles' choice just like steroids were, and those who really want to win will do it just like they do whatever they can get away with now.

Ha...ZuDFunck's (^^).... (Below threshold)

Ha...ZuDFunck's (^^).

But, wait, isn't that what Blogger was supposed to do?!

Supposing that an increased... (Below threshold)

Supposing that an increased or decreased presence of a chemical known to have physiological effect would be invisible to testing is whack. The source of the chemical is not the question; the presence or absence of it is.

Athletic authorities need only say, "Levels above (or below) such are deemed non-competitive."

John,Yeah, but som... (Below threshold)


Yeah, but some chemicals can only be tested for in tissue biopsy. I could be wrong, but I think that myostatin is one of these. Also, even if could be detected, people could just claim they are "naturally" deficient. Natural differences in myostatin are believed to be a main reason why some people are genetically larger than others.

I don't know for sure, but I don't think gene therapy leaves fingerprints. It'd be hell to prove in court or arbritration. I think you'd actually have to catch them going to the lab.

What if genetic doping c... (Below threshold)

What if genetic doping could be used to enhance a Bloggers' ability to post continuously or with great intelligence? Would that be OK?

Depends on the blogger, I guess. In my case...?

Well, they say there's a first time for everything.

Blogger Convicted of Doping... (Below threshold)

Blogger Convicted of Doping.....loses multimillion dollar contract..thousands of kids disillusioned over all the endorsed keyboards they bought....nation shamed and loses standing in Olympic Blogging. CBS reporting collapse of internet imminent.....

dang Rich, ya beat me to it... (Below threshold)

dang Rich, ya beat me to it.

though I was gonna work in something about random testing of raw code...

Hell, I couldn't care less.... (Below threshold)

Hell, I couldn't care less. I say they should shoot up as much as absolutely possible and we enjoy it as the freakshow it is anyway.

If some idiot wants to take steroids so he can lift a Volkswagen Jetta full of cement, why should I care?






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