Direct-to-consumer genetic testing for predicting sports performance and talent identification: Consensus statement
British Journal of Sports Medicine
Centre for Sport and Exercise Science and Medicine (SESAME), University of Brighton, Eastbourne, United Kingdom; MMU Sports Genomics Laboratory, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, Crewe Green Road, Crewe, United Kingdom; College of Engineering, Swansea University, Swansea, United Kingdom; Human Genomics Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA, United States; FIMS Reference Collaborating Centre of Sports Medicine for Anti-Doping Research, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, United Kingdom; Volga Region State Academy of Physical Culture, Sport and Tourism, Kazan, Russian Federation; Clinical Genomics Service, Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, United States; Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond Institute of Health and Sport, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia; Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine, King's College London, London, United Kingdom; Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; Aspetar-Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar; Institute of Sport, Exercise, and Active Living (ISEAL), Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia; Graduate School of Health and Sports Science, Juntendo University, Tokyo, Japan; Department of Paediatrics, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, University of Melbourne, Royal Children's HospitalVIC, Australia; Coram Chambers, London, United Kingdom; School of Law, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom; Nuffield Department of Population Health, Centre for Health, Law and Emerging Technologies, University of Oxford, Headington, United Kingdom; Emeritus of Ergophysiology, University of Athens, Athens, Greece; Universidad Europea and Research Institute, Madrid, Spain; Elite Sport Unit, Netherlands Olympic Committee and Netherlands Sports Confederation (NOC and NSF), Utrecht, Netherlands; Physiological Epigenetics Research Group, University of Stirling, Stirling, United Kingdom; International Federation of Sports Medicine, University of Rome, Rome, Italy
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-toconsumer 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.