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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gene test to predict your child's sporting caliber

Wondering whether your child is going to be good in sports? Here is a way to find out. A private laboratory chain in India Thursday launched a novel sports gene test that can provide answer to such queries.

The laboratory chain said that the answer to a child excelling or not is decided by a gene called ACTN-3, widely referred to as the Sports Gene.

The test by Super Religare Laboratories (SRL), a leading diagnostics network in the country, involves a swab sample collection from the mouth to judge the sporting efficiency of a child.

'The sports gene test has immense value, especially in a country like India where parents want their children to excel in sports. With this test, parents would be able to channelise their desire for their children to excel by appropriately guiding them to the sports to which they are genetically better disposed to,' Sanjeev K. Chaudhry, chief executive of SRL, said.

Every individual has two copies of the ACTN3 gene, one from each parent. The ACTN3 gene essentially produces a protein which helps fast-twitch muscle fibers to produce high energy surges for a short time. Fast muscle fibres are the cells that underline rapid, forceful muscle contraction in activities like sprinting and weightlifting.

The X variant of the ACTN3 gene, however, disables the production of this protein, resulting in its deficiency and leading to absence of energy surge. Energy is released over a period of time, which is suited best for endurance sports (long distance running, swimming across long distances).

'This will be helpful in identifying the sport that children, aged between 2 to 13 years, have a natural predilection for,' Chaudhry said.

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