The World Anti-Doping Agency is today considering a proposal to require Olympic athletes to undergo genome sequencing, Wired reports. Having each athlete's sequence could guard against gene doping, such as altering the expression of certain muscle genes, it says.
It notes that the agency has considered such a move in the past, though it had been deemed too expensive. As the cost of sequencing has declined to level of hundreds of dollars, Wired says WADA is considering the idea in earnest and says it could be implemented within a few years. It would be an extension of the agency's biological passport that tracks levels of metabolites and more in athletes' blood to look for discrepancies that could indicate doping. The agency has already banned gene editing.
"It will be easy in the future to have full genome sequencing for a reasonable amount of money," Olivier Rabin, WADA's science director, tells Wired. "It will be reasonable to have full genome sequencing with some very strong ethical guidelines."
The Winter Olympics start the end of this week in PyeongChang, South Korea.