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WADA eyes research on gene doping (2009, Jan 16)

WADA eyes research on gene dopingDANIA BOGLE, Observer staff reporter Friday, January 16, 2009

THE World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is investing lots of money and resources into conducting research into how to detect gene doping as it continues its fight against cheating in sport.

WADA programmes development manager, Tom May, made the revelation at the panel discussion on Drug Free Sport during the Jamaica Anti-Doping Agency's two-day Symposium which wrapped up yesterday at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.

May spoke to advances in science which have already developed the ability to clone animals and possible future advances which might help dishonest athletes cheat.

Gene therapy already allows for the alteration of DNA to help the body fight certain diseases.

May explained that through gene doping an athlete could manipulate the body to grow bigger muscles or help them develop at a faster rate.

"We don't think it's quite in place but we don't think we can wait for it to occur," he said.

The WADA has already pumped close to US$8 million into the gene doping research.

Meanwhile, International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Medical and Doping Commission member, Dr Herb Elliott, also noted that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and IAAF were also collaborating on a number of projects on the subject, including one at the Royal Caroline Institute in Sweden.

He discouraged the use of doping in sport, saying, "Doping Kills", adding that the dangers or using anabolic steroids included developing liver, heart, and kidney disease as well as epilepsy.

"It's one way of killing yourself by degrees," Elliott said. He added that in men, impotence and low sperm count were among the dangers, and mentioned the case of a female Bulgarian athlete who became pregnant while doping. The child, he said, was now a virtual 'vegetable' needing to visit the hospital at least once per week.

"Young ladies, don't take any foolishness it you wish to become a mother someday," Elliott implored.

The JADCO Symposium was part funded by GraceKennedy and UNESCO and involved athletes and officials from all national sporting associations.

WADA meeting to investigate gene doping in sport (2008, June 2)

WADA meeting to investigate gene doping in sport The Associated Press Published: June 2, 2008

The threat gene doping poses to the integrity of sport will be investigated next week ahead of the Beijing Olympics. Anti-doping leaders and genetics experts will meet in St. Petersburg, Russia to hear details of new research and developments, as well as ongoing ethical concerns.

Gene doping is an illegal spinoff of gene therapy, which typically alters a person's DNA to fight diseases like muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis.

The four-day Gene Doping Symposium, starting on Sunday, will be the World Anti-Doping Agency's third such gathering since 2002.

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."