Genotyping in sport (London, 29 Sept, 2006)

Last friday, I chaired a meeting at UK Sport on the following topic. Much more to follow on this one.... Genetic Technology and Sport: Focus on Genotyping, Genetic Tests and Selection

Date: 29 September, 2006. Time: 1330-1530 Host and Location: UK Sport, 40 Bernard Street, London, WC1N 1ST Travel Advice: Subway: opposite Russell Square Tube Station (Piccadilly Line); Bus: numbers 10, 30, 68, 73, 91, 168 to Euston Station and a 10 min Walk; car: Contact UK Sport in advance to arrange car parking facilities: tel: 0207 7211 5100. Map of Location: see final page of this document (Appendix III).

Participants Dr Peter Fricker (Australian Institute of Sport) Dr Wendy Hiscox (London) Ms Alison Holloway (UK Sport) Professor Barrie Houlihan (Loughborough) Dr Andy Miah (Paisley) Dr Yannis Pitsiladis (Glasgow) Dr Emma Rich (Loughborough) Professor Julian Savulescu (Oxford) John Scott (Director of International Programs, UK Sport) Dr Alun Williams (Manchester Metropolitan)


1330-1345 Introduction & Background Dr Andy Miah

1345-1410 The Science of Genetic Tests for Performance Dr Alun Williamson

Respondent Dr Yannis Pitsiladis

1415-1440 The Australian Perspective Dr Peter Fricker

1440-1530 General Discussion: Ethics, Law, Policy Chair, Professor Julian Savulescu

Key Questions

• What are genetic tests for performance and how do they work? (Science) • What are the ethical implications of such tests, both in the administration of them and their effect on the ethics of sport? (Medical and Research Ethics; Sport Ethics) • What is the legal status of these tests and how would regulation function in the context of international sport? (International Medical and Sport Law/Policy) • Should genetic tests for performance be used as part of the talent identification/selection process in elite sport? (General Moral Philosophical)


Dear Colleague,

We are delighted that you can attend the meeting organised at UK Sport on 29 September on genotyping, genetic tests and selection. During this meeting, we will hear from Dr Peter Fricker at the Australian Institute of Sport about the work that has taken place in Australia in relation to this subject. Since around 2001, Australia has made considerable investments into studies that aim to identify ‘performance genes’ and it has spent extensive time discussing the legal and ethical implications of such research and the use of genetic information more broadly (Australian Law Reforms Commission, 2003).

This work provides the context for our conversations, which have become all the more pertinent given two important developments. First, WADA’s second landmark meeting on Gene Doping concluded with a specific statement about the appropriateness of identifying performance genes and using them within the talent selection process (see Appendix I). Second, the first commercial genetic test for performance had already been introduced to various countries (see Appendix II).

This brief meeting will discuss the ethics and policy implications of legislation surrounding the use of genetic tests for enhanced health characteristics. The majority of attention on genetic tests in the UK has been limited to prenatal or pre-implantation testing, where the Human Genetics Commission explains the opportunities and dangers arising from the widespread use of such tests. The HGC and other organisations are generally dismissive of the need to consider selection for ‘enhancement’ purposes. Yet, it is unclear whether or how regulation will extend to postnatal testing for enhanced health. Our intention is to establish some conclusions and recommendations to inform this emerging debate.

This symposium is organised by invitation only and is hosted by UK Sport. We regret that we are unable to fund travel expenses or speakers’ fees for this one-off meeting, but anticipate that this might be the first of a series of meetings on this topic.

Please find attached 2 documents, which we would ask you to read before the meeting to avoid time spent on background details. Given the limited time we will have, participants are asked to consider, in advance, how their expertise in ethics, law, policy or science can inform the debate about the use of genetic information in sport.

Yours Sincerely,

Dr Andy Miah Professor Julian Savulescu University of Paisley, UK University of Oxford, UK e: e: t: +44 (0)7891 850497 t: +44 (0) 1865 286888


This list of references encompasses references to other major works in the area of genetic tests for performance characteristics.

Australia Law Reforms Commission (2003). Alrc 96: Essentially Yours.

Houlihan, B. M. J. (2004). "Civil Rights, Doping Control and the World Anti-Doping Code." Sport in Society 7(3): 420-437.

Human Genetics Commission (2006). Making Babies: Reproductive Decisions and Genetic Technologies.

Miah, A. and E. Rich (2006). "Genetic Tests for Ability? Talent Identification and the Value of an Open Future." Sport, Education & Society 11(3): 259-273.

O'Leary, J., Ed. (2001). Drugs and Doping in Sport: Socio-Legal Perspectives. London, Cavendish Publishing Limited.

Pitsiladis, Y. and R. Scott (2005). "The Makings of the Perfect Athlete." The Lancet: Special Supplement on Sport and Medicine 366: S16-S17.

Savulescu, J. and B. Foddy (2005). "Comment: Genetic Test Available for Sports Performance." British Journal of Sports Medicine 39: 472.

Spriggs, M. (2004). "Compulsory Brain Scans and Genetic Tests for Boxers - or Should Boxing Be Banned?" Journal of Medical Ethics 30: 515-516.