Some Athletes’ Genes Help Outwit Doping Test

With the summer Olympics just around the corner, a report in this month's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism is unusually timely.  The report suggests that some illicit testosterone users have evaded detection because of their genes.

Researchers found that nearly two-thirds of Asian men and approximately 10% of Caucasian men lack the gene that converts testosterone into a form that can be detected in urine.  Thus, these individuals can take extra testosterone without the fear of being caught via routine screening methods. Dr. Don Catlin, the chief executive of Anti-Doping Research, called it "...a license to cheat."

While there are more sensitive methods available to catch offenders, they are more expensive and time consuming. It remains to be seen whether this news will lead to genetic tests being required for elite-level athletes, or whether a different test can be developed.

It will be interesting to see how the International Olympic Committee responds to this news - and Major League Baseball, for that matter.