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How Gene Alteration Will Negatively Affect the Future of Sport



The future of sports is an ever-evolving concept, and the advent of genetic alteration will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the way sports are played and perceived in the future. Genetic alteration, otherwise known as gene editing, is the process of changing the genetic makeup of an organism by introducing or deleting specific genes or altering the expression of existing genes (Smith). This technology has gained immense traction in the scientific and medical communities, and its potential implications for sports are far-reaching and concerning. Genetic alteration can give unfair advantages to genetically modified athletes and has potential negative health consequences for the health of these athletes.

Genetic modification could give athletes an unfair advantage in sports. In his peer reviewed article published in The Sport Journal, Dr. John T. Ehbar tells us that genetic manipulation in sports could give athletes who have access to such technologies an unfair advantage over others (Ehbar). Dr. Ehbar mentions that genetic manipulation has the potential to enhance physical characteristics and improve athletic performance, which could create an uneven playing field for athletes (Ehbar). SynBioBeta, a leading source in synthetic biology, agrees with Dr. Ehbar about how gene alteration raises tremendous ethical concerns. However, SynBioBeta focuses on the mental side rather than the physical: "another potential use for CRISPR in sports is to enhance mental abilities such as memory, focus, and reaction time” (Synbio Beta). Gene alteration could also be used to create athletes with enhanced mental abilities, which could make sports more strategic and exciting to watch, as viewers would be able to witness athletes making split-second decisions that could decide the outcome of a game (Synbio Beta). Walter Johnson, PhD Scholar at the School of Regulation and Global Governance and his team who published the article We Are Not Ready to Deal With Gene-Edited Athletes provides more evidence of how

gene alteration could potentially affect your performance. Gene alteration “could increase muscle mass” as well as enabling “the blood to carry more oxygen” which means someone could have enhanced endurance (Johnson et al.). The potential for genetic modification to give athletes an unfair advantage in sports is a serious ethical concern. Although having faster, stronger and smarter athletes would make sports more entertaining to watch, only a certain percentage of people have the resources to fund gene alteration (Ehbar). Gene alteration takes away the beauty of sport and that is inclusivity. Athletics would be a ‘pay to make it’ type of game, creating a huge socio-economic gap. However, it is important to consider the potential benefits of genetic modification in sports. For example, genetic manipulation has the potential to reduce the risk of injury, allowing athletes to perform at their peak for longer periods of time (Johnson et al.). It could also be used to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, which could improve the overall health of athletes. Additionally, genetic modification could be used to improve the performance of athletes with disabilities, allowing them to compete on a more even playing field with their able-bodied counterparts (Synbio Beta). Ultimately, the potential for genetic modification to give athletes an unfair advantage in sports is a serious ethical concern that must be addressed (Ehbar). It is important to consider the potential benefits of genetic modification in sports, as well as the potential risks. It is also important to ensure that any regulations or policies that are put in place are fair and equitable, and that athletes are given the opportunity to make informed decisions about their own health and safety.

While genetic engineering can have many benefits, it also has the potential to cause negative impacts on the human body. Jeffery Smith, Executive Director at the Institute for Responsible Technology mentions: cutting the wrong genes or mixing genes in humans could have severe negative effects on the body. The human genome is a complex and delicate system,

with each gene playing a specific role in the development and function of the body ("7 Reasons" 00:00:48-00:02:24). Disrupting the normal function of a gene or introducing a foreign gene into the genome can disrupt the balance of this system and lead to a wide range of issues. For example, cutting the wrong gene can lead to developmental disorders such as Down syndrome or Turner syndrome, or increase the risk of certain diseases such as cancer ("7 Reasons" 00:00:48-00:02:24). Mixing genes can create unintended and potentially harmful interactions between the different genetic sequences, leading to unexpected and undesirable outcomes such as allergies or other health issues. Johnson, shares the same views as Jeffrey Smith, however Johnson specifically focuses on the harm gene alteration could cause to athletes such as an increased risk of injury. When certain genes are altered, it can lead to an overproduction of certain proteins, such as muscle growth proteins, which can cause muscle hypertrophy and muscle imbalances (Johnson et al.). This can put an athlete at a higher risk of injury, as the muscles may become too large and overpower the tendons and ligaments, leading to strain or even tears (Johnson et al.). It is important for athletes to be aware of the potential risks associated with gene alteration and to take the necessary precautions to prevent injury. This includes proper warm-up and cool-down exercises, as well as strength and conditioning exercises to ensure that the muscles are balanced and not overdeveloped. Cardiovascular complications are also a serious concern for athletes who are considering gene alteration (Johnson et al.). Gene alteration can lead to changes in the structure and function of the heart, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular complications. For example, if a gene that controls muscle growth is manipulated, it could lead to an overproduction of muscle fibers, which could lead to an increase in heart size and blood pressure. This could put athletes at a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Genetic engineering has the potential to have many benefits, but it also poses negative impacts on the

human body. The human genome is a complex and delicate system, and disrupting the normal function of a gene or introducing a foreign gene into the genome can disrupt the balance of this system. Athletes should be aware of the potential risks associated with gene alteration and take the necessary precautions to prevent injury, as there is a lack of regulation and oversight in this field (Moxon).

In conclusion, the future of sports is an ever-evolving concept, and the advent of genetic alteration will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the way sports are played and perceived in the future. Despite being a relatively new and uncommon form of doping, gene doping has the potential to cause significant problems in sports (The World). Genetic alteration can give unfair advantages to genetically modified athletes and has potential negative health consequences for the health of these athletes. The potential for genetic modification to give athletes an unfair advantage in sports is a serious ethical concern that must be addressed. It is also important to consider the potential benefits of genetic modification in sports, however, any regulations or policies that are put in place must be fair and equitable, and athletes must be given the opportunity to make informed decisions about their own health and safety.


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