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ORIGINAL ARTICLE  EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY AND BIOMECHANICS 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2018 March;58(3):241-8

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.16.06647-0

Copyright © 2016 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Identification of genetic markers for skill and athleticism in sub-elite Australian football players: a pilot study

Ysabel JACOB 1, Ashley CRIPPS 1, Tess EVANS 1, 2, Paola T. CHIVERS 1, 3, Christopher JOYCE 1, Ryan S. ANDERTON 1, 3

1 School of Health Sciences, University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, Australia; 2 School of Medicine, University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, Australia; 3 Institute for Health Research, University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, Australia


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BACKGROUND: Natural genetic variation contributes towards athletic performance in various strength/power and endurance based sports. To date, no studies have explored the genetic predisposition towards skill and athletic performance in Australian Football (AF) players.
METHODS: The present pilot study recruited 30 sub-elite AF players who completed tests of endurance, power and technical skill. Specific polymorphisms in nine genes were screened, and assessed for a possible association with athletic and skill traits.
RESULTS: Statistical analysis using generalized linear models identified a number of polymorphisms predictive of endurance and technical skill. The angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), normally responsible for regulation of body fluid volume, was a significant factor in predicting ‘all round’ athletic performance and skill. Specifically, the deletion allele (DD) of ACE was identified as a predictor for AF power (P≤0.008), endurance (P=0.001) and skill assessments (P≤0.003). In addition, polymorphisms in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, D2 dopamine receptor, and catechol-O-methyltransferase genes were also shown to contribute to kicking skill outcomes (P≤0.044).
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to implicate the ACE deletion allele for a multidimensional sport in such a way. Further, the results from this study have identified several new candidate genes in predicting athletic and technical skill outcomes.


KEY WORDS: Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors - Athletes - Polymorphis, genetic

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