Rapid advances in technologies in the field of genomics such as high throughput DNA sequencing, big data processing by machine learning algorithms and gene-editing techniques are expected to make precision medicine and gene-therapy a greater reality. However, this development will raise many important new issues, including ethical, moral, social and privacy issues. The field of exercise genomics has also advanced by incorporating these innovative technologies. There is therefore an urgent need for guiding references for sport and exercise genomics to allow the necessary advancements in this field of sport and exercise medicine, while protecting athletes from any invasion of privacy and misuse of their genomic information. Here, we update a previous consensus and develop a guiding reference for sport and exercise genomics based on a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. This SWOT analysis and the developed guiding reference highlight the need for scientists/clinicians to be well-versed in ethics and data protection policy to advance sport and exercise genomics without compromising the privacy of athletes and the efforts of international sports federations. Conducting research based on the present guiding reference will mitigate to a great extent the risks brought about by inappropriate use of genomic information and allow further development of sport and exercise genomics in accordance with best ethical standards and international data protection principles and policies. This guiding reference should regularly be updated on the basis of new information emerging from the area of sport and exercise medicine as well as from the developments and challenges in genomics of health and disease in general in order to best protect the athletes, patients and all other relevant stakeholders.
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- genetic testing
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- School of Sport and Health Sciences - Professor of Sport and Exercise Science
- Centre for Stress and Age-Related Disease
- Sport and Exercise Science and Sports Medicine Research and Enterprise Group