Advanced Detection of Performance Enhancement



The threat of athletes using gene doping caused the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) years ago to put gene doping on the list of prohibited substances and methods in sports. Gene doping is the misuse of gene therapy techniques to enhance sports performances. Since the proteins produced from gene doping constructs are indistinguishable from native proteins, detection  of gene doping has to occur on the level of nucleic acids. Our project, Advanced Detection of Performance Enhancement (ADOPE), aims to develop a routine, reliable and robust detection method for gene doping, based on targeted next generation sequencing. Traces of gene doping DNA from a blood sample are targeted by using a specifically designed fusion protein, consisting of a CRISPR-Cas protein and a transposase. This combination loads target DNA with adapters needed for sequencing. Using this targeted next generation sequencing allows for rapid, sensitive and robust gene doping detection with double verification.

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