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Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag

Katrin Gerlinger • Thomas Petermann • Arnold Sauter

Gene doping

Scientific basis - gateways - monitoring

The committee's preface

The promotion of recreational, competitive, and elite sport is an important social and political responsibility. Widespread abuse of performance-enhancing substances with intent to deceive, i.e. doping, seriously compromises compari-sons of athletic performance and threatens competition by jeopardizing both equality of opportunity and the health of doping athletes. In addition, doping undermines the basic principles of fairness and playing by the rules – important elements that contribute to the social context of sport. For some time now, based on a growing body of knowledge from the field of human genome research, fears have been expressed that this threat will be further aggravated by novel methods of manipulation at the genetic level, an approach known as gene doping.

The potential explosiveness of the issue means that the legislature must address this problem at an early stage. In view of the paucity of currently available in-formation, the Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment, at the suggestion of the Sports Committee, commissioned the Office for Tech-nology Assessment of the German Bundestag (TAB) to carry out an investigation into gene doping. This report concludes that project.

The aim was to analyze the scientific and sociopolitical dimensions of gene dop-ing by reviewing the status of doping-relevant findings from genome research with special attention to individual and social risks. This was accomplished by exploring detection and control possibilities, including the resulting need to re-fine relevant statutory instruments, and by discussing possible preventive strate-gies in the fields of information dissemination, education, and public debate.

This report provides what is probably the most comprehensive examination to date of foreseeable developments in the field of gene doping and its potential impact. It reveals that a broad range of new medical and pharmaceutical tech-niques and procedures – most still under development – could be misused to illegally enhance athletic performance. Possible points of entry include elite sport, the highly competitive bodybuilding scene, and in the long term anti-aging medicine as part of a general social trend towards manipulating performance in everyday life.

Besides the unpredictable risks to the health of users, this TAB report reveals the growing challenge of detecting potential gene doping methods and highlights the need for a comprehensive refinement of control and analysis methods. Other areas requiring action are the adaptation of statutory instruments and the development of educational measures targeted at specific groups.

This report provides the German Bundestag with valuable up-to-date information as a basis for parliamentary discussion of gene doping – a topic that is of relevance to sports, research, and social policymaking alike.

The Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment

Ulla Burchardt, Member of the German Bundestag
Committee Chairwoman

Axel E. Fischer, Member of the German Bundestag

Uwe Barth, Member of the German Bundestag

Hans-Josef Fell, Member of the German Bundestag

Swen Schulz, Member of the German Bundestag

Dr. Petra Sitte, Member of the German Bundestag


Cover der Publikation


BibTeX | RIS
Title Gene doping
Subheading Scientific basis - gateways - monitoring
Author Katrin Gerlinger • Thomas Petermann • Arnold Sauter
Series Technology Assessment Studies Series - 3
Publisher BoD – Books on Demand, Norderstedt
Year 2009
Pages 158 pp.
ISBN 9783732287857
Price 7,92 €