Soccer Scouts Look Into Genetic Testing

DNA tests could reveal if player has power to bend it like Beckham
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2008 10:00 AM CDT
Brazil National Football Team Training Camp   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Scouts for the world's leading soccer teams spend millions every year trying to spot the next Ronaldo or David Beckham but they could soon be turning their attention to genetic tests as well as training grounds. DNA tests that identify genes associated with top athletic ability are already being marketed in Australia, the Guardian reports, raising no shortage of legal and ethical issues.

Genes that have been related to athletic performance include one for fast-twitch muscle function found in leading sprinters, slow-twitch muscle growth, and the production of red blood cells. A leading sports scientist tells the Guardian he has been contacted by a major soccer club interested in pursuing the testing. A soccer watchdog group says it's powerless to stop clubs from using genetic screening.