Genetics of sport- Are we searching in the wrong places?
The topic of genetics of endurance sport is a fascinating one. For as long as I’ve been a competitive runner, the question of whether nature or nurture gave rise to the pocket of dominating distance runners in East Africa has been around.
Researcher Yannis Ptisliadis exemplifies this search. In an article last year, he was quoted as saying that, 10 years ago he would have said that East Africans were better because of genetics, but now he’s not convinced. His change of heart was the result of his group, and others, trying hard to find some genetic difference that some of the best Kenyans and Ethiopians had but finding only minor associations that didn’t fully explain the phenomenon.
So, is it right to conclude that there are no or very little genetic reasons for success in elite East African runners?