The birth of Lulu and Nana at the beginning of December has put the world in excitement. Scientists, politicians, ethicists, religious representatives – all discussed over the two Chinese girls, which is supposedly the first genetically modified babies in the world. The biophysicist He Jiankui had claimed to have the girl of a HIV-resistance implanted. Never was the future vision of an artificially perfected human, so real.

critics fear the people first-and second-class, advocates hope to see the eradication of serious diseases. Also in the sports world is already spoken for a long time, already ten years ago, the sports Committee of the German Parliament debated the tags. Not that it’s the athletes that have been at the forbidden possibilities would have been lacking to improve their performance: stimulants, narcotics, anabolic agents, Epo, blood doping, there are plenty of opportunities for Fraud.

no case of gene doping is documented

All of these doping substances, however, have one thing in common: their effect no longer disappears if the Athlete provides for replenishment. Gene doping is different: “gene doping would not unfold in some of the application forms a permanent effect, the Discontinuation of drug, after a short time disappears,” says Mario Thevis, Director of the Cologne doping control laboratory.

some people have certain genetic conditions, which career are you a successful athlete help, is known. Two-metre basketball player to rise easily to the basket high, cross-country skiers with blood, that can above average take a lot of oxygen, the sliding of the competition of weight-lifters without Myostatin, a hormone that regulates the growth of the Muscle, can, under certain circumstances, more lift than the other.

Is it not close to the targeted genetic engineering help?

so Far, it is fraud, according to Wada is still no documented case of gene doping. The world Anti-Doping Agency, Wada, gene doping leads since 2004 on their ban list. Methods with intervention in the genetic material or the alteration of genetic Information to the potential increase in performance are not allowed since then.

when the occurrence of the first case, is to estimate, according to experts. “In principle, can already be used in gene doping,” says Thevis: “Since, however, the effort and the scope of the short – and long-term benefits and risks are also not for the will give drug users athletes foreseeable, at least, is a common abuse currently and in the near future, not likely.”

There are already Tests

Since the science has already for years, with genetic engineering, it is no Surprise that test methods for gene doping achweis exist in many of the Wada-accredited laboratories. Already in 2010, a molecular biologist Perikles Simon, a blood had presented detection method. “The detection of gene doping is technically possible in many ways,” says Thevis.

“But as in contrast to other doping measures practical knowledge and experience so far is very limited, an assessment of the probability of Detection in the case of abuse is difficult,” says Thevis. Wada points out that it has the possibility of stored specimens to test in ten years, and subsequently on gene doping.

The genetic manipulation to eliminate diseases, which is primarily communicated goal of many scientists, also He Jiankui stressed that when he went Public. As it is, however, the health consequences of people who engage in gene doping, is unknown.

“No researcher can say, today, what does gene doping in a healthy body”, the national Anti-Doping Agency Nada. Thevis says, because the health consequences have been studied only to a limited extent, “must be considered the potential danger of gene doping as a particularly high”.

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.