The physical abilities of each individual are affected by their genetic equipment. Given that sport is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, it is advantageous to know your strengths and develop them further.
Alpha-actinin-3 (ACTN3) is a protein found mainly in fast glycolytic muscle fibers. The gene for this protein occurs in two variants, R and X. Variant X (or more specifically, R577X) carries information for the cell causing muscle protein α-actinin-3 deficiency. This is not a pathogenic issue as its deficiency is effectively compensated by the related protein α-actinin-2.
The α-actinin-2 protein is present predominantly in the aerobically working muscle fibers, giving the muscle greater endurance.
Research also shows that variant X of the ACTN-3 gene gives its owner a certain advantage, which is smaller muscle damage during over-exercise and also reduction of the risk of injury in sports (see figure below).
Each person has two copies of the ACTN-3 gene in their genetic equipment - one copy from the mother, the other from the father. Both variants can be combined in different ways.
Phenotype RR - Individuals with this combination of genes have the prerequisites for sprinter and strength sports.
Phenotype XX - Persons who have 2 copies of variant X in their genetic equipment have abilities for endurance sports.
Phenotype XR - Individuals carrying both variants of genes have talents for endurance and sprinter sports.
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