Team GB trials injury gene tests

Posted: July 25, 2012 at 3:12 pm

25 July 2012 Last updated at 00:05 ET By Susan Watts Newsnight Science editor, BBC News

Scientists behind Olympic Team GB are working on genetic tests to understand why some athletes are prone to injury, BBC's Newsnight has learned.

Tendon injuries and stress fractures are common in elite athletes, but how and why they happen is less clear.

University College London's Prof Hugh Montgomery says they have found a gene they think strongly influences the risk of stress fracture and more will come.

It is hoped the research will allow training to be individually tailored.

Diet, repetitive strain and loading are all known to play a part, and scientists say there is clearly a strong genetic element.

Director of the Institute for Human Health and Performance at University College London, Prof Montgomery carried out groundbreaking work on genes and fitness in the 1990s, most notably the "ACE" gene, thought to be linked to endurance.

"If we understood that genetic component we would have a much better understanding of the patho-physiology - the disease processes that let that happen," says Prof Montgomery.

He has been working closely with the English Institute of Sport (EIS), which aims to apply the latest in sports science and medicine for the benefit of Britain's Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

EIS's Director of Sport Science, Dr Ken van Someren, told Newsnight he is keen to apply the latest genetics discoveries.

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Team GB trials injury gene tests

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