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Is your fitness genetic?

Published: 30th September 2008

A NEW study investigating the response of our genes and how they may affect health and fitness is getting under way in Manchester.

Dozens of men are required to be tested for a "fitness gene" - the ACE gene, which may, depending on the particular variation you have, influence your ability to perform endurance or strength activities.

An individual's fitness impacts directly on their health and development and recovery from disease, especially diseases of inactivity: cardio-vascular, obesity, diabetes (type 2), certain cancers and strokes.

Researchers are seeking healthy men (active or inactive) aged 18-39 to undergo a series of tests (fitness tests, body composition analysis, force measurements, genetic analysis, blood analysis, and a complete nutritional analysis) at the University's science campus in the city centre.

Benefits

"To pay for these tests and advice at a clinic would cost upwards of £2,000," said David Vaughan of MMU's Institute for Biomedical Research into Human Movement and Health.

There are substantial benefits for volunteers because the detailed information that will be gathered from all the different tests will allow us to develop a specific and personal "health report" for every participant.

There is also the truly unique opportunity (you could not pay for this anywhere else in the world - to our knowledge) to receive detailed feedback of how your genes respond to exercise.

This unique study will help to build on previous research and gather further evidence that can explain how skeletal muscle responds to exercise, and how this response is different because of genetic variations.

Effective intervention

Martin Flueck, professor of muscle cell physiology, said: "If we can learn more about the molecular pathways by which muscle adapts, we can design more effective methods of intervention, be it in sport and fitness, or in relation to medicine and healthcare."

Volunteers will be asked to attend MMU for 5 or 6 visits. Each visit will last between 1-3 hours with the exception of one, which lasts all day. The visits will need to be completed within approximately 10 weeks.

If you would like to take part in the research, please contact David Vaughan on 07854 689370 or d.vaughan@mmu.ac.uk or aceii@madasafish.com.