A vigorous debate about the prospect of genetically
engineered super-athletes accompanied this summer's Olympic games
and the report in March of a genetic modification experiment that
produced "Schwarzenegger mice" with a 50% increase in
The scientist who engineered the super-mice has
"been inundated with requests for information from coaches
and athletes," according
to The Christian Science Monitor. Though there are no
indications that any such experiments have been used on Olympic
athletes to date, the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] has already
declared "gene doping" illegal.
But gene doping has increasingly vocal advocates.
Miah, author of Genetically Modified Athletes: Biomedical
Ethics, Gene Doping and Sport, argues that genetic modification
is safer for athletes than are drugs, that it would be "consistent
with the values of elite sport," and that "genetic enhancement
could make us more robust, more capable and better humans."
In any case, he says, echoing the mantra of other advocates of market
eugenics, it is "inevitable and impossible to avoid."
Many sports commentators support WADA's prohibition
of gene doping. University
of Texas professor John Hoberman, who has studied the history
of sports doping, for example, says that legalizing genetic modification
would "turn [sports] into a kind of circus-a freak show."