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Great Lakes Analytics in Sports Conference

Alex Nack

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Sprinters vs. Endurance Athletes, A Genetic Advantage

The performance of skeletal muscle is due, in part, to a fast twitch skeletal muscle protein called alpha-actinin-3 (ACTN3). A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of the actn3 gene was found to be linked to a lower level of expression, due to an early stop codon. The loss of the protein causes impaired skeletal muscle performance in sprinters, but seems to correlate with endurance in female athletes. The purpose of this study was to develop a DNA technique for students, enrolled in Human Genetics, to identify their actn3 genotypes.  Primers were designed to amplify both allele types using a multiplex PCR assay. The DNA of 20 students were then genotyped. All possible genotypes were represented in this population.  This assay can now be used by future students to identify their own genotypes, to gain insight into their potential to become a sprinter or an endurance athlete.

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