Professor Hidde J. Haisma from the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy has received a 100.000 US dollar grant from the World Anti-Doping Agency for his research project that will focus on the development of a gene doping detection assay based on next generation sequencing. Gene doping represents a threat to the integrity of sport and the health of athletes. The anti-doping community has been focusing efforts on developing a test for its detection. As the sequences of DNA of Epo and other doping genes are known, it is relatively easy to aggravate this test, which will then result in a false-negative result.
Recently, Haisma and his group developed a new gene doping detection assay that will overcome this problem. The test is based on targeted sequencing of doping genes with potential to detect any doping gene in any context with a very high sensitivity. Using an in-house designed next generation sequencing assay, he developed a gene doping detection assay for DNA of EPO.
Haisma proposes to evaluate and further develop a multiplex ‘gene doping detection panel’ which targets genes for among others insulin-like growth factor-1, growth hormone, growth hormone releasing hormone and follistatin. The panel allows simultaneous detection of several ‘sport-specific’ genes in one sample, reducing the test’s cost and turn-around-time. This research is crucial in the development of a reliable routine method for detection of gene doping with several genes that could be potentially used in all sports.
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