Fitness for sport is one of the themes explored in the series, which also brings up issues such as human behavior and intelligence. Find out if genetics is one of the influencing factors
Is it in the DNA? is a series produced by the Center for Human Genome and Stem Cell Studies (Genome USP) in the Institute of Biosciences (IB) at USP. There are five short videos that address various topics, such as, for example, whether gene is one of the factors for an athlete to achieve high performance in a sport, or whether human behavior is related to genetics, or even whether parents they have smart breed smart kids. Two other videos answer how DNA can determine the characteristics of living things and whether or not DNA determines who feels romantic attraction. To browse the topics and find out the answer to each topic, just go to the series playlist at this link.
Is being a great athlete in your DNA? This is the theme of one of the videos in the series, which begins with an example: “In a football match, it is not enough to shoot well towards the goal. Good players run a lot throughout the game and notice how the other players on their team or the opposing team are distributed on the field. In addition, while running with the ball, they must be flexible to avoid opponents and assess whether to shoot at goal or pass the ball to another player.” The DNA of athletic ability informs that these abilities include the full functioning of many organs of our body, such as the eyes, lungs, bones, heart, leg muscles and especially the brain.
According to the material, since it is very difficult to simultaneously study so many characteristics that result in a great player, researchers look at certain aspects separately. When they analyzed the angiotensin-converting protein gene, the ACE or ACE gene, the researchers realized that most non-athletes have a different version of the gene than most marathoners who run long distances for long periods of time.
And what is this protein for? It has the function of speeding up the conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II, which is the active molecule that is part of a blood pressure regulation system. There are two types of angiotensin-converting protein, one of which causes a person to have more angiotensin II in the blood, good for explosive athletes such as sprinters, weightlifters, rowers and short-distance cyclists. The other type causes the person to have greater resistance to fatigue and a higher maximum heart rate, useful for endurance athletes, marathon runners, rowers and long-distance cyclists. Some have a mixture of both types.
The researchers also analyzed another gene, ACTN3, responsible for producing a protein important for muscle contraction, actin 3. According to the study, when they compared explosive athletes to non-athletes, they noticed a higher frequency of a certain version the ACTN3 gene in most athletes. This version has been linked to improved strength, lower risk of sports injuries, protection from muscle damage from training, better adaptation of the body to training and faster recovery after training. According to the video, this information has been used for years by athletes to better know themselves and personalize their training, leading to better results.
But the video warns that it’s not just genetics that puts an athlete on the podium. They must have an intense training routine and proper diet. These environmental factors, interacting with the various genetic variations, result in an individual’s athletic ability. “Being a great athlete is a multifactorial trait and it’s in the DNA.”
See all videos in the series on the Genome USP YouTube channel at this linkor click on the players below:
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