BACKGROUND: Human has a high level heritability in physical performance. With the development of technology and test method in molecular biology, the researchers of sport science are concerned with the influence of gene variation on the elite athlete performance. They begin to know the important value of gene on predicting the physical performance.
OBJECTIVE: To review the research results in the field of gene polymorphisms and elite athlete performance and to expatiate the problems in these researches, thereby offering some proposals.
METHODS: A computer-based online research of PubMed and CNKI databases was performed to collect articles published from 1998 to 2013 with the key words “elite athlete performance, gene polymorphisms, endurance, power, training response” in Chinese and English. There were 150 articles after the initial survey. A total of 80 articles were included according inclusion and exclusion criteria.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: The researches of this field are mainly focused on the three aspects: elite endurance performance, elite power performance, and training response, which are associated with gene polymorphisms. The main genes related to elite endurance performance are ACE, mtDNA, PPAR, ADR, GNB3, NRF2, etc. The main genes related to elite power performance are ACTN3, ACE, GDF-8, IL-6, HIF-1, etc. The main genes related to training response are HBB, TFAM, NRF2, AR, FECH, etc. Several gaps in the current researches have been identified including small sample size of most athletic cohorts, lack of corroboration with replication cohorts of different ethnic backgrounds. The numerous research findings can be applied to the gene selection of athletes by creating some kinds of algorithms and models.