T Nation

Genetic Alteration Discussion.

I’ve been researching the possible future of genetic alterations for athletes and the sick. It seems like something out of a science fiction novel but it may be upon us sooner (within the next 20-30 years or so) then we think. I just want everyones opinions on the subject and its possible effects on the fitness industry and the bb/pl community. Thanks.

subtract 20-30 years from your estimates

Genetic alteration or “gene therapy” for the sick is already being used on hundreds of patients every year.

As far as I know,the majority of these patients have genetic disorders that can only be mitigated through “gene therapy”.

I do know of one specific study that increased the number of adrenaline receptors on the cardiac muscle of rats through gene manipulations.

The performance results of the altered rats was greatly accelerated in endurance tests.
Comparative treatment in a weak or aging human heart would be a huge leap in medicine.

Similarly applying this methodology to skeletal muscle or healthy human heart muscle could shift today’s standard of elite performance into mediocrity and make what we consider now to be superhuman fantasy a commonplace measure of the elite athlete.

Wow… Here we go. Wonder how the opinions will split on this idea… Forget the idea of sports doping; you are talking about altering nature. Talking about creating ‘enhanced humans.’ Is that the future of humanity?

Perhaps… Increase our life spans. Maybe that is what is meant to happen; the smarter you get the better you can modify your ‘temple’ or ‘vessel’ . however you want to refer to our bodies or existence. What will happen once there is a class of ‘gen-humanoids’

[quote]muscle_mike wrote:
Wow… Here we go. Wonder how the opinions will split on this idea… Forget the idea of sports doping; you are talking about altering nature. Talking about creating ‘enhanced humans.’ Is that the future of humanity?

Perhaps… Increase our life spans. Maybe that is what is meant to happen; the smarter you get the better you can modify your ‘temple’ or ‘vessel’ . however you want to refer to our bodies or existence. What will happen once there is a class of ‘gen-humanoids’[/quote]

Humans have interacted with other species to “alter nature” genetically before there was such a word as “genetics”.

We guide change within other species through domestication(cows, dogs, etc…), habitat changes, superstition(haiki crap).
Similarly other species(malaria/mosquitos) can propagate mutations(sickle cell anemia) in humans that would otherwise be unfavorable.

Similarly genetic “disorders” like dwarfism that would not survive the sexual selection in a less populous and primitive world, have found a niche through the development of culture and an abandonment of the physical alpha.

Our understanding of ourselves and what exactly is natural is light-years away from where it was just 100 years ago.
The next apparent step is our ability to skip the middle-man and turn what, in nature, happens randomly into a precise and controlled path.

Whether it continues to be precise and controlled when the technology begins to become more accessible is a different monster altogether.

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[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
I think that the Chinese Olympics may well have the first genetically enhanced/altered athletes. Whether that be through removal or inhibition of the myostatin gene, or virally-vectored and muscle-specific ways of increasing natural growth factors (IGF1, 2, MGF, insulin receptors, etc).

VERY hard to catch thoguh I would guess.

Fun times :slight_smile:

bushy[/quote]

i would say that is the tip of the iceberg. somethings would be impossible to catch without tests that are invasive and thus would be banned on human rights grounds. the rest are just impossible to catch even if you know what you are looking for.

the flip side is when you mess with one thing, there are often long term effects of that action that may be less than desirable. unlike steroids and peptide hormones which used judiciously are somewhat safe (steroids more so), gene therapy has been marked by deaths and complications. this will dissuade many for now as current means are relatively cheap, easy, and undectable.

all that said, there is still some way to go in human performance increases through non-drug interventions.