Miah, A. (2010) The DREAM Gene for the Posthuman Athlete: Reducing Exercise-Induced Pain Sensations Using Gene Transfer. In Sands, R.R. & Sands, L. The Anthropology of Sport and Human Movement: A Bicultural Perspective, Lexington Books, Lanham, Maryland, pp.327-341.
Here's the book's blurb:
The evolution of the human species has always been closely tied to the relationship between biology and culture, and the human condition is rooted in this fascinating intersection. Sport, games, and competition serve as a nexus for humanity's innate fixation on movement and social activity, and these activities have served throughout history to encourage the proliferation of human culture for any number of exclusive or inclusive motivations: money, fame, health, spirituality, or social and cultural solidarity. The study of anthropology, as presented in Anthropology of Sport and Human Movement, provides a scope that offers a critical and discerning perspective on the complex calculus involving human biological and cultural variation that produces human movement and performance. Each chapter of this compelling collection resonates with the theme of a tightly woven relationship of biology and culture, of evolutionary implications and contemporary biological and cultural expression.
and my abstract:
Downstream Regulatory Element Antagonistic Modulator, or DREAM for short, is a protein critical to pain sensations experienced by organisms. Recent research has suggested that this genetic origin to pain might be possible to exploit for the purpose of pain management (Cheng et al., 2002; Cheng and Penninger, 2003). This paper discusses the ethical implications of DREAM for sport to advance the debate on what constitutes a legitimate method of performance modification. Initially, it is argued that DREAM presents a more complex problem for anti-doping authorities than other methods of gene doping, since it cannot easily be characterized as enhancing or therapeutic. Indeed, the basis of this distinction is criticized by exploring a biocultural definition of health. On this model, which seems unlikely to be endorsed by anti-doping authorities, but, nevertheless, which is perpetuated by sport physicians, the use of DREAM would seem more difficult to prohibit on medical grounds. Its use is consistent with a medical desire to alleviate suffering, even where it is self-induced. A similar dichotomy exists when discussing the relevance of pain from a sporting perspective. While one might presume that the ethics of sport is such that any legal mechanism to improve performance is desirable for an athlete, pain tolerance appears to have a symbolic value that would undermine the usefulness of DREAM. This tension demonstrates greater complexity to the debate about the role of technology in sport and its ideological connotations about what it means to be an athlete.