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]

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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)

Members: Your genotype for rs1815739 is .

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.  

Author Information:   Debbie Moon
Debbie Moon is the founder of Genetic Lifehacks. She holds a Master of Science in Biological Sciences from Clemson University and an undergraduate degree in engineering from Colorado School of Mines. Debbie is a science communicator who is passionate about explaining evidence-based health information. Her goal with Genetic Lifehacks is to bridge the gap between the research hidden in scientific journals and everyone's ability to use that information. To contact Debbie, visit the contact page.