The gene that might make you a better athlete is called ACTN3 (Actin 3 Neu Tissue Factor). ACTN3 is one of the most common human genes. It plays a role in muscle growth, bone development, blood clotting and many other functions. People have three copies of the ACTN3 gene: two from each parent. There are several variants of the ACTN3 gene. Some of them affect how well the body uses fat and sugar, while others influence your risk for certain diseases such as cancer. Genes can also change how fast you age, but they don’t always do so. For example, some people with a variant of the ACTN3 gene live much longer than those without it.
ACTN3 is involved in many different processes that determine whether you develop health problems later in life. These include things like your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer. If you have an increased risk for any of these conditions, then having a higher level of ACTN3 could mean that you will get sick earlier and suffer greater consequences later in life.
Genetic testing can identify people at high risk for a particular condition before they become ill. That way, they can take steps to prevent getting sick. It’s important to remember that tests are not always right. Just because a test says you have a gene that raises your risk for a particular condition doesn’t mean you will get that disease.
And even if you do get the disease, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the test was responsible for giving it to you.
Genes influence how your body reacts to different stimuli, but they don’t control or determine your entire life. There are several factors that contribute to your life experience, and genes are only one part of that equation. Genes can predispose you to a certain condition, but your environment and life choices can also increase or decrease your risk of developing a disease. The same applies to ACTN3.
While genes are one of several components that determine your physical and mental abilities, you have the ability to influence how these abilities are expressed. Just because you have a gene that means you have to be an athlete doesn’t necessarily mean you have to become one. In fact, there are other factors that contribute to your athletic success that have nothing to do with genes at all.
Even if you have the gene and train, you still may not be any good at sports. Other factors contribute to skill, such as your previous physical activity level, the types of exercises you do, your diet-even things like your mindset and motivation. If you expect to succeed, you’re more likely to do so than if you don’t. The same is true of your genes.
Sports are fun but they can also be dangerous. Activities like football, soccer and boxing pose more risks than others. Obviously, if you don’t have the ACTN3 gene then you shouldn’t play contact sports like these. Even swimming and bicycling can be dangerous.
The environment in which you exercise can increase or decrease your chance of injury. You should always consult a medical professional before starting any new activity.
No matter what genes you have, or don’t have, you can still live a healthy lifestyle. Even if you aren’t athletic, taking part in regular exercise that’s right for you can help you avoid becoming overweight and developing health problems like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis.
Can you choose to play football?
Can you choose not to play football?
If you don’t have the gene, can you still play football?
Does having the gene give you a physical advantage?
Should you tell your kids about their genes?
Do you need to see a medical professional before starting any new activity?
Does being active decrease your risk of injury?
Does being active decrease your risk of disease?
Is it important to avoid becoming overweight?
Should you stay away from sports?
Are you predisposed to succeed in sports?
Score = Number right – Number wrong.
22-25 You clearly understand the material. College coaches will be interested in you, even if you’re not interested in sports.
16-21 You understand the basic concepts. Some coaches might still be interested in you, but a lot of work would still be needed.
10-15 You’ve got some work to do before you can call yourself a sports expert. Keep up on current events in the sports world and read more about exercise and nutrition.
5-9 Sports is just not your thing and it doesn’t seem like it ever will be. This doesn’t mean the door is closed completely, but you will need to put in a lot more work before you can call yourself a sports expert.
0-4 You should find a new hobbies because it doesn’t look like sports are in your future. Sorry.
Created by Doctor E
Sources & references used in this article:
Stress and the young athlete: The child’s perspective by D Gould, CG Wilson, S Tuffey… – Pediatric Exercise …, 1993 – journals.humankinetics.com
Born to be an athlete? The impact of genetic technology on autonomy by C Tamburrini – Sport in Society, 2010 – Taylor & Francis
Can Probiotics Make You A Better Athlete? by M Mosman – endurelite.com
Towards the transhuman athlete: Therapy, non-therapy and enhancement by A Miah – Sport in Society, 2010 – Taylor & Francis
The DREAM gene for the posthuman athlete: Reducing exercise-induced pain sensations using gene transfer by A Miah – The Anthropology of Sport and Human Movement: A …, 2010 – books.google.com