Anti-doping agency developing test for genetic cheating (2007, Nov 1)


Anti-doping agency developing test for genetic cheatingThu Nov 1, 9:54 PM ET

The World Anti-Doping Agency is working with scientists to develop tests to battle genetic cheating, which it believes could become possible in five years, its chief said in an interview published Friday.

Dick Pound, WADA's outgoing chairman, told the Financial Times business daily that genetic manipulation could eventually dwarf drugs-based cheating in sports.

"We are working with them (scientists) to have a non-invasive (test) ready by the time these techniques are being used," Pound said, telling the paper he was convinced scientists would make genetic manipulation an option for athletes in five to six years.

Pound said that scientists had told WADA that they had already received inquiries from athletes and coaches about how genetic manipulation would work, and how it could affect performance.

The FT said that such testing is at such an early stage that scientists are still conducting laboratory experiments on rats.

Pound also said that the recent case of American Olympic gold medallist Marion Jones admitting she took performance-enhancing drugs had helped push the US Olympic Committee to take a harder line against drugs-based cheating.

"US professional sports are in a combination of denial and responding with the absolute minimum they think they have to do to keep Congress off their backs. It is only legislation that gets their attention," he said.

"It is very hard to quantify the scale of the (drugs cheating) problem. Some countries understand the problem, but don't know how to go about solving it. Some are still trying to pretend there is no problem."