So You Want to Be an NBA Star: Do You Have the Genes?

"My advice was that there are questions of legality with an employer doing genetic tests on its employees. They wanted to conduct a test (on current players) that is specific to genetics," Wackerhage said.

However, UK Sport, the group that governs drug testing in Britain, is quoted as saying it had no power to prevent clubs using genetic screening on players because it was not specifically prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

So where might this all lead? At the very least it appears that it is now possible to identify genetic traits found in top athletes, as well as potential top athletes at birth.

What will this do to the noble profession of sports scouts?

Instead of sitting through videotape of hundreds of high school football, basketball or baseball games every year looking for a promising rookie, will these legends of the sports world be replaced by clerks who go online and scan a lab's data bank for genetic draft picks?

And what will happen to one of the greatest things about sports, the will to overcome what nature has given you and excel through hard work, guts and determination?

Huw Jennings, youth development manager at the Football Association Premier League, told the Guardian: "While you may be able to identify athletic ability, the road from promising youngster to top professional is far from smooth, and it doesn't necessarily follow that talented athletes will become talented footballers."

Perhaps. But DNA athletic profiling could fall hard on youngsters who need the traditional values of sports to help them develop into well-adjusted adults. If they are told they are being bumped from their Little League team because their lab tests were dodgy, what will that do to future generations?

Despite some wonderful uses of DNA science, parents, would-be sports stars, and sports fans may eventually have to ask whether this is one scientific achievement too far.

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