The “Barry Bonds Problem” – Athletics Meets Biotechnology Barry Bonds – Naturally Gifted Athlete? …..

or Cheating with Biotechnology? o March 2006 “Game of Shadows” accuses Bonds of using undetectable steroids1 o On May 28, 2006 hits 715th homerun to break Babe Ruth’s record o Ongoing legal troubles for Bonds, his trainer, the supplier of steroids What do we think of sports? …Why do we like sports? Real Human Drama Athletic Success Hard Work Concentration Sacrifice Dedication Suffering

Genetic Analysis: the Human Genome Project and the expanding list of known mutations Eero Mantyranta -1964 Winter Olympics – cross country skier from Finland o Won 2 gold medals by a large margin. o Years later discovered to have a natural genetic mutation allowing for more red blood cells o Other members of his family were champion endurance athletes. . ACTN3 gene and sprinters2 o Normally about 80% of the population have the ACTN3 gene. o “Virtually all” of the sprinters tested (and other power athletes) have the ACTN3 gene. o Some female sprinters had 2 copies of the gene. Exercise Physiology: 2006 Winter Olympics – Nature vs. Nurture Dr. Heikki Rusko from Finland - “high altitude” cottages and tents to sleep in. o Oxygen concentration the same as living at 2800 meters. o Improves aerobic performance o The Turin Olympic Committee has banned using Rusko’s tents in Italy. Dr. James Stray-Gundersen from U.S. Olympic Training Center Utah o Athletes live at 2300 meters. o Drive down to train at 1400 meters. o Stray-Gundersen’s methods are acceptable to the Turin Olympic Committee. Questions: “Nature versus Nurture” Nature Nurture Question Some athletes are born with genetics that improve performance Some athlete live at high altitudes At present is there a “Level Playing” in sports?

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Fainaru-Wada, Mark; Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds; March 2006; Gotham Books North, Kathryn, University of Sydney; American Journal of Human Genetics; Sep 2003; 73(3): 627-631.

Genetic Engineering: Current Research on Mice “Marathon Mice” - Heart Disease Research - Increased Endurance3 Maximum Distance Run Maximum Time Running Regular Mouse 900 meters 1 hr. 30 min. “Marathon Mouse” 1800 meters 2 hr. 30 min.

“Schwarzeneggar Mice” - Muscular Dystrophy Research – Percent Increase in Strength4 No Weight Training 15 % - 30% 8 Weeks of Weight Training 100%

Drug Testing. Both of the above methods are undetectable in the blood or urine. Athletics in Near (?) Future o The 2004 Olympics were “the last Olympics without genetically enhance athletes.”5 o 2.5 % of 8th graders (13 & 14 year-olds) used steroids6 o More than 50% of Olympic hopefuls said they would take a drug that guaranteed 5 years of victory and then killed them7 Some Questions For us as individuals Will technology effect our admiration of athletes? …how we buy books? …music? How important is a “level playing field” in sports? …in business? …in school? What do we teach our children? Ethics and “Success” Can the lure of “Fame and Fortune” overpower ethics? How is success measured in athletics? ….business? How do you define personal success? * * Appendix Sports in history with confirmed cheating using biotechnology: American football, baseball, bicycling, body building, cricket, cross country skiing, soccer, tennis, track and field (“athletics”)
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Evans, Ronald; Salk Institute, University of California San Diego; Public Library of Science Biology; Oct 2004,2(10) Sweeney, H. Lee; University of Pennsylvania; Journal of Applied Physiology; 96:1097-1104, 2004 5 Sweeney, H. Lee; Scientific American; July 2004 6 The Economist; Special Report: Sport and Drugs; August 7, 2004; pg. 24 7 Evenson, Brad; National Post (Canada); Feb. 17, 2004; pg. A15

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