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Genetic Testing for Athletic Ability


This article is featured in the Genome Summer 2016 issue

Emily Hu had always considered herself a mediocre athlete. Short legs made her a terrible runner, she says, and poor upper body strength made pull-ups an exercise in frustration. But the 33-year-old Californian stayed in shape through the years by practicing martial arts and hitting the gym regularly, never losing the desire to be “really strong.”

So no one was as shocked as Hu when she showed up at her first powerlifting competition three years ago, which she’d entered out of “pure curiosity,” and swept all three events — squat, bench press, and dead lift. It was a breakthrough moment, with Hu discovering previously untapped potential that transformed her self-perception.

“I thought, if monkeying around at the gym could get me these results, think what hiring a professional could do,” recalls the medical device researcher. Hiring a coach and training some 10 hours per week has since produced phenomenal results: Hu is now a champion powerlifter, ranking in the world’s top 10 overall and breaking two world records in the bench press.

Another shot of curiosity prompted Hu last year to undergo direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing to reveal markers for athletic performance. But she was skeptical that such tests, which are said to spot athletic prowess or help tailor training to optimize performance, would yield any surprises.

Read the full article at Genome Magazine »

Genome Magazine‘s mission is to explore the world of personalized medicine and the genomic revolution that makes it possible, empowering you to make informed health decisions that will help you live better and longer.

MFN Medical & Health Organization Partner