Special Issue "Genetics and Sports Performance"

A special issue of Genes (ISSN 2073-4425). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Genetics and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 January 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Juan Del Coso
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Sport Sciences (ICD), Rey Juan Carlos University, 28943 Fuenlabrada, Spain
Interests: exercise performance; sports nutrition; exercise physiology; anti-doping; genetics
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. David Varillas-Delgado
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, Madrid, Spain
Interests: genetics; genomics; sports and physical performance; exercise physiology; biochemistry; metabolism; caffeine and ergogenic effect; ergogenic aids; phytochemicals
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

The impact of genetics on human physiology and on physical performance during exercise is one of the oldest research topics in sports, as the positive sway of hereditary factors has been deemed an indispensable condition to succeed in sport for decades. In the 1970s, seminal investigations aiming to determine the influence of genetics on exercise and sports performance compared values of aerobic capacity, strength, and power between identical (monozygotic) and fraternal (dizygotic) twins. These investigations were key to confirming that innate factors are responsible for a high proportion of the interindividual variance in physical fitness and exercise capacity. However, the introduction of new genomic analysis methods such as GWAS (genome-wide association studies) and NGS (new-generation sequencing) has entailed a dramatic change in knowledge to specifically determine what genes and polymorphic variants may favor/hinder excel values of physical conditioning capacities. Lastly, the measurement of full genomes in elite athletes will potentially represent a new era to use genetic testing as a tool for personalized exercise training and for talent identification.

To date, more than two hundred polymorphisms have been associated with traits that may directly and indirectly influence exercise and sports performance in several metabolic, muscular, and cardiorespiratory pathways. However, current evidence shows there is still a lack of full knowledge to understand how genetics may influence sports performance, and, especially, how we can use genetic information to enhance current training and talent identification methods. First, even today, the number of studies carried out with elite athletes is scarce, especially for some less popular sports disciplines. Additionally, in most cases, the use of cohorts of elite athletes in studies on this topic has not been accompanied by measurements of “sports performance” phenotypes such as VO2max, one repetition maximum (1RM), muscle power, or other performance factors directly associated with the elite status both in endurance and power modalities. In this regard, some sports disciplines are not only influenced by physical performance traits, as tactic/technical skills, precision/accuracy, decision making, and psychology factors may also be associated to succeeding in some sports. Second, a large portion of studies contains an insufficient cohort of athletes, which may introduce expectancy effects. Lastly, the proportion of studies that have measured the effect of the interrelationship of several genetic variants is still low. In this regard, the use of GWAS and NGS is a step forward toward comprehending the complex nature of the genetics–performance interrelationship, but the applicability of this type of investigation to sports performance is still reduced. Future studies in the coming years should focus on increasing the applicability of their outcomes, elaborating the maps to predict the likelihood of being an elite athlete, as well as on the risk of sports-related injuries or the capacity to obtain benefits from training (i.e., trainability).  

As the guest editors of this Special Issue on “Genetics and Sports Performance”, we kindly invite you to submit a manuscript to Genes, with the final aim of enhancing knowledge regarding how genetics influence sports performance and on how we can apply genetic information in the context of sports. We are especially interested in original investigations that use cohorts of elite/professional athletes and include measurements of phenotypes directly associated with sports performance. We also welcome narrative and systematic reviews that help to translate the current knowledge of the influence of genetics on sports performance to athletes, coaches, and other supporting personnel, as they are key elements to effectively interpreting how research can be used in the field to aid in the preparation of elite athletes.   

Dr. Juan Del Coso
Prof. Dr. David Varillas-Delgado
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genes is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • genetics
  • genomics
  • epigenetics
  • single nucleotide polymorphism
  • exercise performance
  • athletic performance
  • sport competition
  • elite athlete
  • women athlete
  • sports competition

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Genetic Profile in Genes Associated with Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Elite Spanish Male Endurance Athletes
Genes 2021, 12(8), 1230; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12081230 - 10 Aug 2021
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Abstract
Background: most of the research concerning the influence of genetics on endurance performance has been carried out by investigating target genes separately. However, endurance performance is a complex trait that can stem from the interaction of several genes. The objective of this study [...] Read more.
Background: most of the research concerning the influence of genetics on endurance performance has been carried out by investigating target genes separately. However, endurance performance is a complex trait that can stem from the interaction of several genes. The objective of this study was to compare the frequencies of polymorphisms in target genes involving cardiorespiratory functioning in elite endurance athletes vs. non-athlete controls. Methods: genotypic frequencies were determined in 123 elite endurance athletes and in 122 non-athletes. Genotyping of ACE (rs4340), NOS3 (rs2070744 and rs1799983), ADRA2a (rs1800544 and rs553668), ADRB2 (rs1042713 and rs1042714), and BDKRB2 (rs5810761) was performed by polymerase chain reaction. The total genotype score (TGS: from 0 to 100 arbitrary units; a.u.) was calculated from the genotype score in each polymorphism. Results: the mean TGS in non-athletes (47.72 ± 11.29 a.u.) was similar to elite endurance athletes (46.54 ± 11.32 a.u., p = 0.415). The distribution of TGS frequencies were also similar in non-athletes and elite endurance athletes (p = 0.333). There was no TGS cut-off point to discriminate being elite endurance athletes. Conclusions: the genetic profile in the selected genes was similar in elite endurance athletes and in controls, suggesting that the combination of these genes does not determine endurance performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Sports Performance)
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Article
Muscle Work and Its Relationship with ACE and ACTN3 Polymorphisms Are Associated with the Improvement of Explosive Strength
Genes 2021, 12(8), 1177; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12081177 - 29 Jul 2021
Viewed by 372
Abstract
Background: The potential influence of genetics in athletic performance allows the search for genetic profiles associated with muscular work for the orientation of strength training and sports selection. The purpose of the study was to analyze four muscular exercises for effectiveness in improving [...] Read more.
Background: The potential influence of genetics in athletic performance allows the search for genetic profiles associated with muscular work for the orientation of strength training and sports selection. The purpose of the study was to analyze four muscular exercises for effectiveness in improving explosive strength variables, associated to the genetics in Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) and α-actinin-3 (ACTN3) polymorphisms. Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted on a sample of 80 subjects allocated into four groups: concentric muscle work (CMW), eccentric muscle work (EMW), concentric-eccentric muscle (C-EMW) work and isometric muscular work (IMW), by block and gender randomization. Vertical jump, long jump, power jump, and speed were measured to study explosive strength. Genotypic frequencies of ACE (rs4646994) and ACTN3 (rs1815739) were obtained by polymerase chain reaction. Results: ACE gen showed significant improvements regarding the DD genotype in the Sargent test (p = 0.003) and sprint velocity test (p = 0.017). In the ACTN3 gene, the RR variable obtained improvement results with regard to RX and XX variables in long jump (p < 0.001), Sargent test (p < 0.001) and power jump (p = 0.004). Conclusions: The selected genes demonstrated an influence on the muscle work and the improvement in explosive strength variables with a decisive role regarding the type of muscle work performed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Sports Performance)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

1. Title: Genetic profile in genes associated with cardiorespiratory fitness in elite Spanish male endurance athletes
Affiliation: Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, Madrid, Spain

2. Title: The effect of ACTN3 in padel players

Affiliation: Rey Juan Carlos University, 28943 Fuenlabrada, Spain

3. Title: Muscular work and its relationship with genetic variables associated with improvement of explosive power

Affiliation: Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca

 

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