This may interest the likes of Cycling Fans Anonymous.
What could this mean for cycling?
Sorry for the bad scan job. I was sitting in a public library while reading the latest copy of Science News, and the lighting was not the best. Alternatively, you can read the electronic article here [Finding The Golden Genes, Patrick Barry, Aug 13 2008].
Basically, using hormones and other drugs to get dope into your system could be a thing of the past. Repoxygen, although hard to obtain, uses the natural abilities of a virus to deliver a therapeutic gene to an anemic patient's DNA. That gene will have the encoded protein, erythropoetin in it. Since this gene is similar to the patient's original gene, the 'camaflouging' is hard to detect.
Endurance can also be boosted by a gene encoding a protein called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR-delta) . The scanned article as shown above, referring to studies done by the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California, states :
"Mice engineered to have extra copies of this gene hopped onto a treadmill and, without ever having trained, ran about twice as fast as the unaltered mice. The extra PPAR-Delta improved the ability of the mice's muscles to use fat molecules for energy, and it shifted the animal's ratio of muscle fiber types from fast twitch toward slow twitch fibers - a change that would improve muscle endurance in people as well."
As far as I have learnt in biology, fiber ratios are genetically determined. But this form of gene quirk can blow all that out of the water. Now you may not even need to exercise to up your performance.
The dark question lurks : Are any athletes using repoxygen at the Olympics?