Look at the findings - there is a 1 in 500 chance of having the genes of an elite power athlete.
Can we identify a power-oriented polygenic profile?
Aim: Using the model originally developed by Williams & Folland (J Physiol 2008;586,113-21) we determined i) a 'total genotype score' (TGS, from the accumulated combination of the six polymorphisms, with a maximum value of '100' for the theoretically optimal polygenic score) in a group of elite power athletes, endurance athletes, and non-athletic controls ii) the probability for the occurrence of Spanish individuals with the 'perfect' power-oriented power profile (i.e. TGS=100).
Methods: We analysed six polymorphism that are candidates to explain individual variations in elite power athletic status or power phenotypes (ACE I/D, ACTN3 R577X, AGT Met235Thr, GDF-8 K153R, IL6 -174 G/C and NOS3 -786T>C) in 53 elite track and field power athletes (jumpers, sprinters), 100 non-athletic controls and 100 elite endurance athletes (distance runners and road cyclists) (all Spanish Caucasian males).
Results: The mean TGS was significantly higher in power athletes (70.8+/-17.3) compared to endurance athletes (60.4+/-15.9; P<0.001) and controls (63.3+/-13.2; P=0.012), whereas it did not differ between the latter two groups (P=0.366). A total of five power athletes (9.4%, all sprinters) had a theoretically 'optimal' TGS of 100, versus 0 subjects in the other two groups. The probability of a Spanish individual possessing a theoretically optimal polygenic profile for up to the six candidate polymorphisms we studied was very small, i.e. ~0.2% (or 1 in 500 Spanish individuals).
Conclusions: We have identified a polygenic profile that allows, at least partly, distinguish elite power athletes from both endurance athletes and non-athletic population.
Key words: Muscular strength, Elite athletes, Sprinters, jumpers.