n International SportMed Journal - The ethics of genetic testing in sport : review article

Volume 7, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1528-3356



It is now possible to improve human sporting performance using genetic enhancements. For the time being, these enhancements bear serious health risks, which give us a clear moral imperative to try to prevent athletes from using them. On the other hand, they will be much harder to detect than normal drug-based performance enhancements, and the available detection methods are likely to be more invasive. In particular, the compulsory genetic testing of athletes needs a strong ethical justification. If the health risks decrease over time, should we continue testing athletes for 'gene doping'? The answers depend on the level of risk, the chance of catching the dopers, the intrusiveness of the testing strategy, and on whether we believe gene doping is really as bad as drug-based doping. This article identifies the cases for which testing can be justified, and those for which it cannot.

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