Gene doping mice

1 minute read

Andy Coghlan reports on work using viral vectors to amp up mouse muscles, a form of “gene doping”, in New Scientist: “Blood tests won’t stop gene cheats”.

Autopsies showed that the extra IGF-1 triggered the production of 10 times more protein than normal in the muscles. Giacca also saw activity soar in genes controlling energy production, contraction of muscles and respiration. Also detectable in the muscle were traces of the virus used to deliver the genes. However, the gene, protein and virus were undetectable in blood or urine from the mice (Human Gene Therapy, DOI: 10.1089/hum.2011.157).

Writing this sent me looking through my “gene doping” archives. This from 2006, where I reacted to fears that athletes in the Beijing Olympics might be using viral vectors to amp themselves: “Is the dawn of “gene doping” at hand?”

But there is a total lack of recognition of a basic reality: Somebody who actually could figure out how to genetically enhance an athlete before 2008 probably deserves a Nobel prize! And if they could figure that out, they would be a paid a whole lot more by applying their 'l33t genetic skillz curing osteoporosis or something.
I mean, even Zorin's doctor had that whole residual-Third-Reich-loyalty keeping him in the game.

I’m pretty sure that snark will shorten my life a lot more than red meat ever could.