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Athletic Gene Makes a Difference

Scientists have found a gene that helps determine how athletic you are. Since this study was done in Australia, it doesn't answer the controversial question about why Blacks dominate sports in the U.S.?is it genetics, "culling" during slavery, or seizing an opportunity to advance? Also, once DNA testing becomes common, will recruiters use it to identify potential star athletes in high schools and colleges?

Australian researchers found that sprinters, who run at high speed for short distances, are more likely to have a copy of a gene called ACTN3, which enables muscles to contract more quickly and powerfully. This would be a valuable gene to have if you want to play basketball, for instance.

Researchers found that people who had two copies of this gene were the best athletes. Two copies means it was passed down from both parents, which is one reason athletic families produce athletic children.

Scientists also found that athletes who participate in endurance sports are more likely to have the X version of this gene instead, which conveys no muscle superiority. Researcher Kathryn North says, "I hypothesize that absence of alpha-actinin-3 means that an individual's muscles are more 'slow' in character, and better suited for endurance activities."

If you've always blamed yourself for being bad at sports, you can now blame it on your genes.

When we have a turbulent period in our lives, should we blame ourselves or consider it an adventure? What about having an affair with famous guru Carlos Castaneda? Find out what it was like from Amy Wallace on this weekend's Dreamland.

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