Let Athletes Use Genetic Doping

The only question should be one of safety, not fairness
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2008 2:48 PM CDT
Genetic treatments have the potential to improve athletic performance but the issue raises many questions about fairness and safety.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Genetic therapy's potential to boost athletic performance has sports bodies worried, but fairness should not be an issue, the Economist opines. The luck of the genetic draw already gives some athletes an edge over their competitors, and the only question should be whether gene treatment is safe for the athletes. Such doping may not be advanced enough to surface in the Beijing Games, but the issue will arise soon enough.

"What is natural about electric muscle stimulation?" the Economist asks. "Or nibbling on nutrients that have been cooked up by chemists? Or sprinting in special shoes made of springy carbon fibre? Statistically speaking, today’s athletes are unlikely to be any more naturally gifted than their forebears, but records continue to fall. Nature is clearly getting a boost from somewhere."