Snips about SNPs: ACTN3 (muscle type gene)

The ACTN3 gene codes for a type of muscle fiber found in fast-twitch skeletal muscles. These are the muscle fibers that produce explosive, powerful contractions. Think Olympic sprinters and powerlifters…

About 25% of Caucasians have a non-functioning ACTN3 genetic variant. If you carry this variant, it doesn’t mean that you can’t lift weights or run, but you may be at a slight disadvantage if you are an elite power athlete.  In fact, most Olympic sprinters and powerlifters carry the functional ACTN3 variant, Marathon and long-distance runners are more likely to carry the non-functioning version. [ref][ref]

Check your genetic data for rs1815739 (23andMe v4, v5; AncestryDNA):

  • C/C: functioning ACTN3 gene, optimal for elite power athletes
  • C/T: functioning ACTN3 gene, optimal for elite power athletes
  • T/T: non-functioning ACTN3 gene, more likely to be an endurance athlete than power athlete (in elite athletes)

Want to know more details? Read the full article on the ACTN3 gene function.

*SNP stands for Single Nucleotide Polymorphism, which is when one of the nucleotide bases (the A, C, G, or Ts) is replaced by a different nucleotide base in a gene.  

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