Replicative Study in Performance-Related Genes of Brazilian Elite Soccer Players Highlights Genetic Differences from African Ancestry and Similarities between Professional and U20 Youth Athletes

Tane Kanope, Caleb G.M. Santos, Feliciana Marinho, Gustavo Monnerat, Mario Campos-Junior, Ana Carolina P. da Fonseca, Verônica M. Zembrzuski, Miller de Assis, Michael W. Pfaffl, Eduardo Pimenta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Classically, genetic association studies have attempted to assess genetic polymorphisms related to human physiology and physical performance. However, the heterogeneity of some findings drives the research to replicate, validate, and confirmation as essential aspects for ensuring their applicability in sports sciences. Genetic distance matrix and molecular variance analyses may offer an alternative approach to comparing athletes’ genomes with those from public databases. Thus, we performed a complete sequencing of 44 genomes from male Brazilian first-division soccer players under 20 years of age (U20_BFDSC). The performance-related SNP genotypes were obtained from players and from the “1000 Genomes” database (European, African, American, East Asian, and South Asian). Surprisingly, U20_BFDSC performance-related genotypes had significantly larger FST levels (p < 0.00001) than African populations, although studies using ancestry markers have shown an important similarity between Brazilian and African populations (12–24%). U20_BFDSC were genetically similar to professional athletes, showing the intense genetic selection pressure likely to occur before this maturation stage. Our study highlighted that performance-related genes might undergo selective pressure due to physical performance and environmental, cognitive, and sociocultural factors. This replicative study suggests that molecular variance and Wright’s statistics can yield novel conclusions in exercise science.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1446
JournalGenes
Volume14
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Keywords

  • SNP panel
  • athletic performance
  • genetic distance matrix
  • population genetics
  • soccer

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