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Uzbekistan Plunges Into Gene Pool To Spot Future Olympians

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

The idea of using genetic testing to spot future world-class athletes has been bandied about for years. Now, Uzbekistan hopes to get a jump on the competition by testing children as young as 10 to determine their athletic potential.

Rustam Muhamedov, director of the genetics laboratory at Uzbekistan's Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, announced the program for "sports selection at the molecular genetic level" on January 5 in the government-owned "Pravda vostoka" newspaper.

He tells RFE/RL that the program, overseen by Uzbekistan's Academy of Sciences, would be "implemented in practice" in early 2015 in cooperation with the National Olympic Committee and several of the country's national sports federations -- including soccer, swimming, and rowing.

Muhamedov's team began studying the genes of champion Uzbek athletes two years ago. He says that after another year of work in Tashkent, his team will be ready to publish a panel presentation on a specific set of 50 genes that he claims will identify future champions.

To read the full story

Written and reported by Ron Synovitz, with additional reporting by RFE/RL Uzbek Service correspondent Zamira Eshanova.

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Uzbekistan Plunges Into Gene Pool To Spot Future Olympians

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