Beijing on Alert for Invisible GM Drugs ; Athletes 'Injecting Super DNA'
Bhatia, Shekhar, The Evening Standard (London, England)
THE Beijing Olympics may be plagued by an undetectable form of doping, a leading British scientist has warned today.
This month's Games are believed to feature a new generation of "genetically modified" athletes whose performance has been improved by the injection of foreign DNA.
It could be the first Olympics to be tainted by "gene doping", the latest and most dangerous threat to drug-free sport.
The process, placed on the list of banned substances and methods by the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2003, involves genes being inserted into muscle or bone cells and their proteins fed directly into the tissue or red blood cells.
This is usually done by injecting, or sometimes inhaling, the necessary DNA.
Dr Andy Miah, in Beijing conducting research during the Games, said: "Gene doping is the next major headache for the world of sport.
"In 2004, people were starting to talk about its use at the Athens Olympics. This year in Beijing, the case is even stronger that this will be the first genetically modified Games. Many scientists will say it's still not possible, but I'm not taking this for granted. We need to assume that it's happening. It's already feasible."
Dr Miah's allegations will cast yet another unwelcome shadow over preparations for the 29th modern Olympics, which begin on Friday. He added: "There is no other technology that is likely to change the Olympics [more] than gene doping. It's not possible to detect and there's a good chance that it will never be detectable in any meaningful sense.
"This forces the world of sport to reconsider what it does about testing. It's time for their plans to change. It's time for the era of human enhancement to take full effect in the Olympics" Gene doping, to date, has been considered by most experts to be a hypothetical threat..
Many believed it would not register on the Olympic radar until at least the 2012 Games in London.
Dr Miah's claims will cause the WADA and the International Olympic Committee serious concern. …