Genetic Basis of Physical Fitness

Posted: 5 Dec 2007

See all articles by Hugh Montgomery

Hugh Montgomery

University College London

Latif Safari

University of Tehran


Environmental stimuli interact with common genetic variants to determine individual characteristics including physical performance: 80% of variation in arm eccentric flexor strength and grip strength may be genetically determined. However, many physical characteristics and physiological processes determine physical performance, and each is regulated by a large number of genes: strong genetic influences on maximum exertional oxygen uptake, heart size, lean mass, skeletal muscle growth, and bone mineral density have all been described. To date few variants strongly influencing global performance have been identified. One such is the presence (Insertion, I allele) rather than absence (Deletion, D allele) of a DNA segment in the gene encoding angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE): The I allele has been associated with fatigue resistance/endurance, and the D-allele with strength gain.

Keywords: selection, exercise, performance, phenotype, genotype, polymorphism

Suggested Citation

Montgomery, Hugh and Safari, Latif, Genetic Basis of Physical Fitness. Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 36, October 2007, Available at SSRN:

Hugh Montgomery (Contact Author)

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Latif Safari

University of Tehran ( email )

Amirabad e shomali, kuye daneshgah e Tehran
Tehran, UT Tehran 5433174616

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