What if sideline rage could be nipped in the bud with a quick genetic test that told Mom and Dad what sports – if any – Junior could master? The Boulder, Colo., company Atlas Sports Genetics today began selling just that sort of product: for $149, it says it will screen for variants of the gene ACTN3, which in elite-level athletes is associated with the presence of the muscle protein alpha-actinin-3. The protein helps muscles contract powerfully at high speeds, which may explain why the combination of ACTN3 variants that produce it has been found in Olympic sprinters.
You could have someone who tested to be an athlete decide not to when they become old enough to decide their own interests. You then have the option of having them succeed at their chosen field and prove the geneticist wrong or have them fail miserably and prove that genetics does determine ability.
Conversly you could have someone who doesn't test as an athlete decide to become an athlete, then you have the same options of having them succeed or fail.
Another one just came to me. You could have a controversy about how a company who sells this product is altering the results to show the child will be a good athlete. This company is also the parent company of another company that specializes in training children who show sports aptitude. It would take years before anyone realizes there is a large percentage of children who enrolled in this program, at the recommendation of the original company, who have absolutely no athletic ability.
Just some thoughts, feel free to use any or none of them.
Posted by skadder (Member # 6757) on :
Sounds like Gattaca to me.
Posted by AWSullivan (Member # 8059) on :
Yeah, any story that relies heavily on an idea of people making decisions about their future/career based on genetics is going to have that feel.
Posted by InarticulateBabbler (Member # 4849) on :
Wasn't Hitler trying to genetically enhance athletes and soldiers? I also remember reading something about Russian experiments.
It makes me think about crossing the themes from No Escape and Soldier. Hmmm.
Posted by alliedfive (Member # 7811) on :
First thing I thought of was how valuable sperm (for artificial insemination) with these genes would be. Maybe a heist story with the prize being $100 million dollars worth of pro athlete sperm or something.
Posted by Elan (Member # 2442) on :
Um... don't you see the female contribution included? An egg DOES supply half the genetic material. Sperm is highly overrated.
Posted by Cheyne (Member # 7710) on :
Your point is taken Elan, but the reality is that sperm determines sex and males make a lot more money on the sport circuit than women. So if you wanted to have a male with the needed genetic variation the sperm would be more valuable than the ovum.
Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
Near as I can tell---and what little I learned was some time ago, before much in the way of modern advances---though it takes one egg and one sperm to start a child, the actual construction of genetic information isn't an even fifty-fifty split.
Posted by LAJD (Member # 8070) on :
You are right Robert.
For each gene we (usually) get two copies, one from each parent; there are exceptions to this. For each pair, some copies are repressed (not expressed at all), some genes co-expressed but at different levels, and some equally expressed (or pretty close to). And, of course, we don't know which ones are which and they can change with tissue type, age and environment. There is a reason that we still know very little about the human genome even though the genome project completed in 2001! Well, that's not completely fair, we know more now than we did in 2001, but I digress.
Also, there is very little genetic information on the Y chromosome. Hairy ears, as I recall, and a couple of other things.
[This message has been edited by LAJD (edited December 02, 2008).]
Posted by arriki (Member # 3079) on :
Yes, but sperm is so much more easily harvested and there's more of it. How many thousands (millions?) to one egg?