Genetic Advantages in Sports: When Do They Count as “Doping”?
What is the essence of sports, and how does that impact the way doping is defined? The sports world is already preparing for an inevitable wave of “gene-doping” as gene-transfer technologies advance and become more widely available to all ages. On the one side, genetic modifications that improve human performance can be considered enhancements that threaten fair competition. However, gene transfer technologies can be used for a wide range of characteristics, thus blurring the lines between therapy and enhancement. This gray zone requires reflections and decisions on whether there is a moral difference between a genetic advantage that is inherited versus acquired. Could gene-transfer be a way of leveling the playing field? Or does it threaten the essence of sports fundamentally?