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Direct-to-consumer genetic testing for predicting sports performance and talent identification: Consensus statement.
British Journal of Sports Medicine
  • Nick Webborn, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, UK
  • Alun Williams, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Mike McNamee, Swansea University, Swansea, UK
  • Claude Bouchard, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, USA
  • Yannis Pitsiladis, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, UK
  • Ildus Ahmetov, Volga Region State Academy of Physical Culture
  • Euan Ashley, Stanford University
  • Nuala Byrne, Bond University
  • Silvia Camporesi, King's College London, London, UK
  • Malcolm Collins, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Paul Dijkstra, Aspetar—Qatar Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  • Nir Eynon, Victoria University, Melbourne
  • Noryuki Fuku, Juntendo University, Tokyo, Japan
  • Fleur C Garton, University of Melbourne
  • Nils Noppe, Coram Chambers, London, UK
  • Soren Holm, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  • Jane Kaye, University of Oxford, Headington, UK
  • Vassilis Klissouras, University of Athens, Athens, Greece
  • Alejandro Lucia, Universidad Europea and Research Institute i+12, Madrid, Spain
  • Kamiel Maase, Elite Sport Unit, Netherlands Olympic Committee
  • Colin Moran, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK
  • Kathryn N North, University of Melbourne
  • Fabio Pigozzi, University of Rome, Rome, Italy
  • Guan Wang, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, UK
Date of this Version
Document Type
Journal Article
Publication Details

Published version

Webborn, N., Williams, A., McNamee, M., Bouchard, C., Pitsiladis, Y., Ahmetov, I., Ashley, E., Byrne, N. M., Camporesi, S., Collins, M., Dijkstra, P., Eynon, N., Fuku, N., Garton, F.C., Hoppe, N., Holm, S., Kaye, J., Klissouras, V., Lucia, A., Maase, K., Moran, C., North, K.N., Pigozzi, F., & Wang G. (2015). Direct-to-consumer genetic testing for predicting sports performance and talent identification: Consensus statement. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 49(23), 1486-1491.

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The general consensus among sport and exercise genetics researchers is that genetic tests have no role to play in talent identification or the individualised prescription of training to maximise performance. Despite the lack of evidence, recent years have witnessed the rise of an emerging market of direct-to-consumer marketing (DTC) tests that claim to be able to identify children's athletic talents. Targeted consumers include mainly coaches and parents. There is concern among the scientific community that the current level of knowledge is being misrepresented for commercial purposes. There remains a lack of universally accepted guidelines and legislation for DTC testing in relation to all forms of genetic testing and not just for talent identification. There is concern over the lack of clarity of information over which specific genes or variants are being tested and the almost universal lack of appropriate genetic counselling for the interpretation of the genetic data to consumers. Furthermore independent studies have identified issues relating to quality control by DTC laboratories with different results being reported from samples from the same individual. Consequently, in the current state of knowledge, no child or young athlete should be exposed to DTC genetic testing to define or alter training or for talent identification aimed at selecting gifted children or adolescents. Large scale collaborative projects, may help to develop a stronger scientific foundation on these issues in the future.
Citation Information
Nick Webborn, Alun Williams, Mike McNamee, Claude Bouchard, et al.. "Direct-to-consumer genetic testing for predicting sports performance and talent identification: Consensus statement." British Journal of Sports Medicine Vol. 49 Iss. 23 (2015) p. 1486 - 1491 ISSN: 0306-3674
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