WADA's Second Gene Doping Symposium


From 4-5 December, the World Anti-Doping Agency hosts its second Gene Doping symposium in Stockholm Sweden. They have already issues a press release for this meeting and, like the NYC meeting in 2002, the proceedings are closed to the media and by invitation only. At the meeting, I will give a reply to Dr Thomas H. Murray, President of The Hastings Center as part of a session on the ethics and policy implications of gene doping for sport.

One of the greatest catalysts for media coverage at the first meeting was Lee Sweeney's statement that he had been contacted by coaches and athletes who wish to enrol in gene therapy trials, in order to boost their performances. For the media and many other interested parties, this made the issue real and present.

It is likely that this meeting will present some advance on whether detection will be possible and I will argue for a re-definition of the ethics of sport based on a couple of recent pieces I have written. The first - published in the journal Public Understanding of Science - will advance a critique on the way in which gene doping has been discussed in society; the second - published in the European Journal of Sport Science - will argue that anti-doping policy should be replaced with a 'performance policy'.

Together, my conclusion will state that a rejection of gene transfer on the basis of current arguments implied and explicit within anti-doping policy is not justified. The two references are as follows:

Miah, A. (2005). "Genetics, cyberspace and bioethics: why not a public engagement with ethics?" Public Understanding of Science 14(4): 409-421.

Miah, A. (2005). "From anti-doping to a 'performance policy': sport technology, being human, and doing ethics." European Journal of Sport Science 5(1): 51-57.