Ethics, Genetics, and the Future of Sport: The Implications of Genetic Modification and Genetic Selection

Project launched in June 2005

Principal Investigator: Thomas H. Murray

Funder: United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)


The project had four basic aims:

  • Develop a realistic assessment of the likely time horizon and ways in which gene transfer may be used in sport.
  • Provide a thorough conceptual and ethical analysis of gene transfer in sport. This aim will build upon the analysis accomplished in the project and has the following subparts:
    • Ethical and conceptual analysis of somatic cell gene transfer in sport.
    • Ethical and conceptual analysis of germ line gene transfer in sport.
  • Explore possible strategies for preventing and/or detecting prohibited gene transfer, with special attention to ethical issues these strategies may raise.
  • Consider the implications of genetic selection for Olympic sport.

Existing Products

  • Loland, S. and Murray, T. H., “The ethics of the use of technologically constructed high-altitude environments to enhance performances in sport,” editorial, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 17: 193-195, 2007.
  • Murray, T. H., “Enhancement,” in The Oxford Handbook of Bioethics, Bonnie Steinbock (ed.), Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • Murray, T. H., “Doping in Sport: Challenges for Medicine, Science and Ethics,” editorial comment on “Medicine and Science in the Fight against Doping in Sport,” Journal of Internal Medicine, in press.
  • Murray, T. H., “Enhancement in Sports,” From Assisted Reproduction to Stem Cell Technology: The Hastings Center Bioethics Briefing Book for Campaigns, Policymakers, and Journalists, forthcoming 2008.