Biology, Other

Do your genes determine if you can play football?

Genetic variation exists within population of different ethnic origin and even different families. This difference in the genes of individuals even if small can make some better than others in sports. But by how much?

Growing up i wasn’t very athletic, and this is normal, i always saw that some are born better in some skill than others. Soon enough i found my place in sports, i found out i can understand the intentions of players and their strategy so i stayed in defensive positions in sports like football where i performed best. I could run fast to defend but i couldn’t get far with the ball.

On the other hand my friend was perfect at this.

Now, almost 15 years later i understand why. Some are born with genes that make it easier for them to perform that good. I was born with genes that make me run fast, others with genes that give them better coordination. Genes like ACE might be overexpressed in me, while genes like ACTN3 in my friend.

It may seem unfair, and it is a little bit. You can’t control the genes of your children and even if we can in the near future the ethics of the topic will be a nightmare. So you are stuck with the genes you got from your parents and you do your best with them. Most of the times, your genetic advantages and disadvantages don’t force you to play a specific role in society, they just make you discover your way of doing what you want.

Other genes like AGTR2 depending on the polymorphism present in your cells make you better at sports. It is nice to have such polymorphisms that benefit your health and performance. Although many studies show that epigenetic influences are much more important in certain cases in determining your athletic potential.

Epigenetic changes can occur at any point after your birth and can have huge effects on your genetics. Changes in your diet or environment during a large time period may alter the proteins (histones) that fold and organize your genes in ways that improve or hurt you health, athletic performance or basically anything about you.

Most studies have focused on ACTN3 for athletic performance. Others mention myostatin, a gene that stops muscle growth. The reality is much more complicated. Because when we say athletic performance we mean many things and some seemingly simple things in humans are controlled by very complex mechanisms it is hard to list all the genes that make a professional athlete, that… a professional athlete. But don’t think it is just genes. It takes a lot of practice and epigenetics and ageing are factors that will eventually slow you down if you are not careful enough.

For more science, tech news and articles follow Qul Mind. And for the full articles i used as sources of information for this article check the sources at the end of this post.

Sources: Can genes predict athletic performance? , The AGTR2 rs11091046 (A>C) polymorphism and power athletic status in top-level Brazilian athletes , Identification of genetic markers for skill and athleticism in sub-elite Australian football players: a pilot study. ,


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