Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Letter RE: "How does Usain Bolt do it?" -- LA TIMES

Jeannine Stein’s recent article on Usain Bolt raises an interesting point regarding the genetic analysis of seemingly superhuman sports accomplishments.  Personal genomic tests are becoming cheap and prevalent. With teams investing  millions in their players, owners may decide to learn more about a player’s long-term potential through a relatively inexpensive analysis. Further,  professional sports sustains a strong statistics subculture that could see genetic mutations as an integral component of a player’s dossier (along with height, weight and say ERA).  It could be even done surreptitiously by a fan or rival based on trace DNA remains lifted off of personal items. In a worst case scenario, unregulated testing of athletes for genetic variants to explain their abilities would ignore the significant  privacy concerns -- both to the individual and their family that share’s much of the same genes -- resulting from the disclosure of a person’s genetic predispositions.

Dov Greenbaum
Mark Gertstein
Unpublished letter in response to:
How Does Usain Bolt Do it?
By Jeannine Stein
Published:  August 31, 2009
LA Times

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