The New York Times reports on a genetic test that will give zealous parents a way to size up their youngsters' athletic ability. Colorado-based Atlas Sports Genetics is offering for a mere $149 a test that screens for the ACTN3 gene, which is thought to associated with above-average abilities at speed and strength sports. While one parent quoted in the article says the test "would prevent a lot of parental frustration" when it comes to selecting the areas where her child will excel, Stephen Roth, director of the functional genomics laboratory at the University of Maryland, says ACTN3 is only relevant for top- performing athletes, not five-year-olds in peewee leagues.
So far, the article has earned the disdain of the genomics blogosphere. Genomeboy gives the Times two thumbs down for the Johnny come lately coverage: "We have known about this for more than five years or that 23andMe has been doing it for a year or that it's been available via Australia for four years." And Think Gene is shaking its finger, calling the piece pure PR fluff. "This article was seeded by a PR company — it's only news because ATLAS Sports Genetics has investors that know their best shot at success is buying their way into the New York Times." Ouch.