Gene Doping May Be Next Big Thing for Athletes Seeking EdgePosted by Sarah Rubenstein The science of genetics has opened up a world of potential new treatments for tough diseases. But those of you who’ve been watching the Olympics may be interested to know genes could become the next “steroids.”
Right out of the “don’t try this at home” play book, the Baltimore Sun over the weekend ran an article detailing the many ways Olympic athletes can still manage to skirt anti-doping rules. Though the degree to which it’s happening is unclear, one interesting idea is what’s being dubbed “gene doping.”
Here’s how the newspaper explains it: Inject the body with a gene that triggers growth in specific tissues such as muscle. That could increase the muscle but be tough to detect in a test, because the enhancement was produced by the body’s own instructions.
Se-Jin Lee, a Johns Hopkins molecular biologist , found recently that with two injections over two weeks, he could increase muscle mass in mice by 60% — no training required, according to the Sun. He’s only testing in animals, but it wouldn’t be hard to try the technique in humans, he acknowledged.