Future Drugs and Genes

The Future of Drug Testing
Training works though regulating gene expression, which in turn regulates protein production (and every other adaptation to training). Some on the leading edge of drug testing believe that directly detecting this would both bypass the current difficult process of mass spectrometry, and cast a broader net without sacrificing accuracy: if the house is burning, we don’t care what was used to ignite it. If drugs artificially stimulate the same genes training does, though, how could the drug user be separated form the exceptionally gifted? Molecular biologist Annie Toth comments:
“Performance enhancing drugs certainly do alter gene expression, and they probably do so in a similar way that the body’s natural hormones do. It may, therefore, be rather difficult to distinguish between drug abusers and the exceptionally gifted. However, performance enhancing drugs have slightly different chemical structures than the natural molecules they try to mimic (for example EPO vs. natural erythropoeitin made in the kidneys), and they may therefore regulate genes slightly differently. A drug abuser could be distinguished from an athlete by expression levels of certain ‘marker’ genes.”
(Annie, by the way, is running again regularly after seven frustrating months of Achilles tendonitis.) (11/9)

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