GENETIC BASIS OF INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE

Vassilis Klissouras, Daniel Marisi

Abstract


The phenomenon of human diversity which has been empirically observed and verified, has long attracted considerable attention among educators and researchers. The fundamental reasons for the expressions of variance in human endeavors are inextricably linked to both genetic predisposition and environmental influences. That is, the phenotypic expression of an individual's motor ability, structural dimensions and physiological capacities is not solely and unalterably set by his, genetic constitution, but is also affected by environmental forces. In this respect, the frequently raised question "Is a superior athlete born or made?" is meaningless. It is not a dichotomy of predetermination versus plasticity. The gene constellation that each individual possesses cannot operate in an environmental vacuum, but in fact must act in concert to provide an optimal condition for phenotypic expression. Thus, the question more appropriately phrased would be, "To what extent are individual differences in performance determined by genetic factors, and to what degree by nongenetic factors?"

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