The authors compared ACTN3 R577X genotype and allele frequencies in the majority of all-time-best Spanish judo male athletes (n = 108) and 343 ethnically matched nonathletic men. No between-groups differences were found in allele (P = .077) or genotype distributions (P = .178). Thus, the R577X polymorphism was not significantly associated with the status of being an elite judo athlete, at least in the Spanish population. The contribution of genetics to sports-related phenotype traits is undeniable with some genotypes, of which ACTN3 R577X is currently the leading candidate, partly distinguishing individuals predisposed to either endurance or power sports. However, few athletic events can be categorized as purely power or endurance based. Although genetic testing (ie, for ACTN3 R577X) is already being marketed to predict sports talent and potential of young children, its usefulness is still questionable, at least in competitive judo.
Gabriel Rodríguez-Romo, Thomas Yvert, Alfonso de Diego, Catalina Santiago, Alfonso L. Díaz de Durana, Vicente Carratalá, Nuria Garatachea and Alejandro Lucia
Nuria Garatachea, Zoraida Verde, Alejandro Santos-Lozano, Thomas Yvert, Gabriel Rodriguez-Romo, Francisco J. Sarasa, Sonsoles Hernández-Sánchez, Catalina Santiago and Alejandro Lucia
To determine the association of the ACTN3 R577X polymorphism with leg-muscle explosive power in Spanish (white) elite basketball players and controls.
100 (60 men) elite basketball players (cases) and 283 nonathletic controls.
The authors assessed power performance by means of the vertical-squat and countermovement-jump tests.
Genotype distributions did not differ between groups (cases: 37.0% [RR], 42.0% [RX], and 21.0% [XX]; controls: 31.8% [RR], 49.8% [RX], and 18.4% [XX]; P = .353). The authors did not observe any effect of the ACTN3 R577X polymorphism on study phenotypes in either group, including when they performed the analyses separately in men and women. They found no association between the ACTN3 R577X polymorphism and the likelihood of being an elite basketball player using the dominant or the recessive model, and the results remained unaltered when the analyses were adjusted for sex, weight, height, and age or when performed for men and women separately.
Although the ACTN3 R577X is associated with explosive muscle performance and this phenotype is important in the sport of basketball (ie, during jumps), the authors found no association with leg explosive power in elite basket players or with the status of being this type of athlete.
Carlos A. Muniesa, Zoraida Verde, Germán Diaz-Ureña, Catalina Santiago, Fernando Gutiérrez, Enrique Díaz, Félix Gómez-Gallego, Helios Pareja-Galeano, Luisa Soares-Miranda and Alejandro Lucia
Growing evidence suggests that regular moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with an attenuation of leukocyte telomere length (LTL) shortening. However, more controversy exists regarding higher exercise loads such as those imposed by elite-sport participation.
The authors investigated LTL differences between young elite athletes (n = 61, 54% men, age [mean ± SD] 27.2 ± 4.9 y) and healthy nonsmoker, physically inactive controls (n = 64, 52% men, 28.9 ± 6.3 y) using analysis of variance (ANOVA).
Elite athletes had, on average, higher LTL than control subjects, 0.89 ± 0.26 vs 0.78 ± 0.31, P = .013 for the group effect, with no significant sex (P = .995) or age effect (P = .114).
The results suggest that young elite athletes have longer telomeres than their inactive peers. Further research might assess the LTL of elite athletes of varying ages compared with both age-matched active and inactive individuals.