By the time the last athletes received their medals at the London Olympics, a record number of competitors had undergone testing for performance enhancers. The International Olympic Committee took over 6,000 blood and urine samples to screen for performance-enhancing drugs that athletes could use to boost their abilities. Despite this massive effort to keep the competition fair, the committee is already predicting even greater efforts in future games as it contends with athletes who risk trying a new way to boost performance: gene doping.
Though no athlete has been found guilty of gene manipulation yet, the idea that certain power genes could enhance athletic prowess no doubt presents a strong temptation. Currently, gene therapy is undergoing testing in people with inherited disorders such as muscular dystrophy and sickle cell anemia. Ambitious and unscrupulous athletes could use the same technology to gain a competitive advantage.