Lebron James playing for the USA Basketball Team. Christopher Johnson / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)
Lebron James playing for the USA Basketball Team. Christopher Johnson / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Cosmic Queries – Sports Genetics

Lebron James. Image Credit: Christopher Johnson / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)
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About This Episode

What will the future of athletics look like? Will we hit a peak in human performance? Will doping become legal? And, above all else, will genetically-modified humans be the athletes of tomorrow?

On this episode of StarTalk Sports Edition, Neil deGrasse Tyson and co-hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice are joined by Stuart Kim, PhD, geneticist and Founder and CEO of AxGen. AxGen is “transforming the sports world by leveraging actionable genetic insights to personalize strength training, so as to reduce injury and empower athletes to achieve their peak potential.”

Discover more about what modifying genes could do to help you gain an advantage. We debate if genetically-modified humans should be allowed to compete in sports. Stuart tells us why, when you compare it to the rules on doping, it’s a resounding no. You’ll find out what animal genes each Neil, Gary, Chuck, and Stuart would infuse with their own in order to give them an advantage on the court. 

Explore the ethics behind the conversation. Why is weight-lifting, a process to shape muscle on your body, allowed, but manipulating genes is not? Should non-professional athletes be allowed to modify their genes? We ponder if there will come a time when we will have two versions of the same sports league: an “honest” league and a “cheaters” league. 

You’ll also learn if owners and teams study player genetics when thinking of roster acquisitions. You’ll hear more about the power of collective bargaining when it comes to teams wanting certain information about their players. Stuart shares the latest updates on using genetic testing to predict susceptibility to concussions. Lastly, we debate if we will ever hit a peak on the limits of human performance.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons and All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.


About the prints that flank Neil in this video:

“Black Swan” & “White Swan” limited edition serigraph prints by Coast Salish artist Jane Kwatleematt Marston. For more information about this artist and her work, visit Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, https://inuit.com/.

In This Episode

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