Endurance Genes Found

“High-altitude mountaineering is about as strenuous endurance training asyou´re likely to get, especially since you´re excercising very hard in verylow oxygen tensions”. So says Dr. Hugh Montgomery who has been trying to ascertain why some people seem to have more than others? The team of researchers from London´s Center for Cardiovascular Genetics have suggested that a certain gene variation could predict special powers of endurance. Their research has shown that a greater quantity of certain athletes have the gene, especially those who have to function under low-oxygen conditions. The subjects for the research consisted of 78 army recruits and a group of British high alktitude mountaineers who regularly climb beyond 7000m without oxygen. The team was originally trying to determine what effect the ACE (which encodes the production of an enzyme known as angiotensin converting enzyme) gene had on growth of the human heart during exercise. They found some unexpected results. We all have two copies of the gene that produces ACE. However, there are two variations of the gene, the “I” variation and the “D” variation, so any given individual is either II, ID or DD. When DNA samples taken from the high-altitude mountainclimbers were analysed, a greater than average amount of them had ID or IIgenes. There were no DD individuals among those climbers that were capableof climbing 8,000 meters without oxygen. “We´re guessing that the effect we´re seeing is due to efficiency of use ofoxygen. That´s why we went to the high altitude mountaineers,” says DrMontgomery. “But we need to confirm that with further scientific studies atsea level where we would expect such an effect to be very much less marked,because oxygen is plentiful.” Thanks to EXN