Genetic aspects of athletic performance: the African runners phenomenon
Vancini RL, Pesquero JB, Fachina RJ, Andrade MS, Borin JP, Montagner PC, de Lira CA
Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine Published Date May 2014 Volume 2014:5 Pages 123 - 127
The current dominance of African runners in long-distance running is an intriguing phenomenon that highlights the close relationship between genetics and physical performance. Many factors in the interesting interaction between genotype and phenotype (eg, high cardiorespiratory fitness, higher hemoglobin concentration, good metabolic efficiency, muscle fiber composition, enzyme profile, diet, altitude training, and psychological aspects) have been proposed in the attempt to explain the extraordinary success of these runners.
Increasing evidence shows that genetics may be a determining factor in physical and athletic performance. But, could this also be true for African long-distance runners? Based on this question, this brief review proposed the role of genetic factors (mitochondrial deoxyribonucleic acid, the Y chromosome, and the angiotensin-converting enzyme and the alpha-actinin-3 genes) in the amazing athletic performance observed in African runners, especially the Kenyans and Ethiopians, despite their environmental constraints.
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