Genes, environment and sport performance: Why the Nature-Nurture dualism is no longer relevant

Davids, Keith W. & Baker, Joseph (2007) Genes, environment and sport performance: Why the Nature-Nurture dualism is no longer relevant. Sports Medicine, 37(11), pp. 961-980.

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One of the most enduring and passionate debates in sports science concerns the relative importance of genes (i.e., nature) and environment (i.e., nurture) on human behaviour. This debate has considerable relevance for understanding athletic performance and exercise behaviours. The purpose of this position paper is to provide a synopsis of current evidence regarding the nature-nurture debate and to consider the implications of this research for researchers in sport science and medicine. To this end, we begin by providing a historical overview of the nature-nurture debate before reviewing current evidence for the influence of nature and nurture on variability in sports performance. Based on our analysis, we conclude that the influence of genes on phenotypes of complex systems is context-based which provides a challenge for understanding the role of variants of single genes in shaping behaviour. For this reason, the dualist approach of nature versus nurture is inadequate to account for the complexity of the interactions between these factors and advocate an approach that considers a more dynamic, interactive relationship.

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74 citations in Scopus
55 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 7442
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Self-archiving of the author-version is not yet supported by this publisher. For more information, please refer to the journal’s website (see link) or contact the author Keith Davids. Author contact details:
Additional URLs:
Keywords: training, expertise, dynamical systems, practice, genes
ISSN: 0112-1642
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SPORTS SCIENCE (110600) > Sports Medicine (110604)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Adis International
Deposited On: 08 May 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:37

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