Test Close To Detect Gene Cheats

A test is close for identifying gene doping, seen by athletes as the holy grail for enhancing performance. Scientists are experimenting with magnetic imaging as a method of detecting the use of gene doping amid fears that techniques used in cloning of champion racehorse in Italy could be used to develop super athletes. Magnetic imaging works like an x-ray in taking a picture of an athlete's body and enabling testers to highlight unusual gene patterns so that scientists can chart suspected cheating. Officials anticipate that unscrupulous scientists will soon be able to offer gene doping to athletes desperate to gain a physical advantage over their rivals, perhaps even by the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. If so it would make the recent scandals surrounding designer steroids such as THG seem like child's play.

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