Your genes influence your strength and performace

Adaptation to exercise training is a complex trait that may be influenced by genetic variants of every individual. 

Researchers identified 36 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that had been previously associated with endurance or strength performance, exercise-related phenotypes or exercise intolerant disorders.

A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) is a substitution of a single nucleotide that occurs at a specific position in the genome. Our genome is made mainly from DNA, it is sequence of the nucleotides (A, C, G and T). At a specific position in the genome in mostly individuals appears the same base nucleotide, for example T, but in some indviduals the position may be exanged by an A. This means that there is a SNP at this specific position.

Researchers analysed genome from two exercise cohorts. First one was made of 58 moderately trained individuals, in second cohort there were 115 Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon 2008 participants. Collected parameters were peak power output (PP), a time trial (TT), lactate threshold (LT), maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max).

Identified 17 variants (11 in the population and six in the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon cohort) which were significantly associated with performance gains in highly trained individuals. For example, the variant rs1474347 was found to be associated with gains in VO2 max (additional 4.016 mL/(kg min) for each G allele inherited).

In summary, this study found that genetic variance can influence training response in a moderately trained cohort and provides an example of the potential application of genomic research in the assessment of exercise trait response.

(Mol Genet Genomics. 2020 Jan 2. doi: 10.1007/s00438-019-01639-8)