Friday, February 03, 2006

Apocalypse now: fears of gene doping are realised

Unleashing the power of the human genome...will make unleashing the unleashing of the power of the atom look like child's play...

who said that?

A new substance has emerged that suggests the next stage in the drugs battle has started

THE grim new world of gene doping, for so long viewed as the apocalyptic future of illegal performance-enhancement in sport, has dawned in Germany. Experts had been concerned that advances in gene therapy would start to impact on sport by the time of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. However, evidence from a court case in Magdeburg, Germany, suggests that a new brand of cheats could be injecting in time for the Turin Winter Games, which start next week.

Gene doping is the big fear among those fighting for clean sport. It involves manipulation of the human genetic code and thus evades standard detection methods. And a German court has identified the distribution among coaches of a substance called Repoxygen, which works in this way to produce erythropoietin (EPO) indigenously.

“You would have to be blind not to see that the next generation of doping will be genetic,” Dick Pound, the chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, told scientists only two months ago. It seems that this next generation has arrived.

link to full article

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