Cheetah Story

Cheetah sitting and enjoying the sun

Scientists have been looking for that key gene for decades. But each time a new gene shows an association with some performance measure, the hypothesis gets thwarted by another. However, there is no doubt that your genetic makeup plays a significant role in sporting performance. By merely looking at the different mammalian species, one sees a diversity of fast runners, runners that have endurance, or those with brut strength. Even within species, there are vast differences: certain horse breeds are fast sprinters, some again known for their endurance ability. The same can be said about the various dog breeds – a grey hound vs. a bull dog. There is something inherent that brings these attributes to the surface, but is still unknown.

Venue: Cango Wildlife Ranch, Oudtshoorn, Western Cape

For more information contact the MyoLab.

Team

Prof Tertius Kohn (PI)

Prof Adrian Tordiffe (CI)

Kathryn van Boom (PhD student)

Luqmaan Adamson (MSc student)

Start of Research Ideas

RESEARCH OVERVIEW

The MyoLab’s research focuses primarily on skeletal muscle function – structure, metabolism and contraction. Although the research fields overlap, we can divide it into four main categories, each with unique projects answering specific questions.

This research area focuses on establishing when genetics cease to play a role in determining exercise performance. The models we use include the various ethnicities of the world, as well as wild and domestic animals of the African continent.

 

The mechanisms by which muscle weakness comes about from various diseases, are poorly studied. This component of our research focusses on using single fibre technology to investigate what exactly is affected by diseases such as McArdle’s disease and inflammatory myopathies (cardiac and skeletal muscle). We are also developing novel methodologies to accurately diagnose malignant hyperthermia in South Africa.

Nature or Nurture

How much do genetics contribute to the performance of athletes? Or can specific training increase performance for all humans? Are athletes born great or made great?

Scientists have been looking for that key gene for decades. But each time a new gene shows an association with some performance measure, the hypothesis gets thwarted by another. However, there is no doubt that your genetic makeup plays a significant role in sporting performance. By merely looking at the different mammalian species, one sees a diversity of fast runners, runners that have endurance, or those with brut strength. Even within species, there are vast differences: certain horse breeds are fast sprinters, some again known for their endurance ability. The same can be said about the various dog breeds – a grey hound vs. a bull dog. There is something inherent that brings these attributes to the surface, but is still unknown.