Anti Gravity: Hoop Genes; August 1998; Scientific American Magazine; by Mirsky; 2 Page(s)
You know how close I came to playing professional basketball? About 17 inches. Seventeen inches taller, and I would have been an even seven feet, which at least would have given me a shot at seeing just how close a shave Michael gets on the top of his head. Having immense strength, acrobatic agility, catlike coordination, unbridled desire and a soft touch on my fallaway jumper would also have come in handy, but the height thing couldn¿t have hurt. All of which brings us to genes.
Although the Human Genome Project will probably fail to uncover a DNA sequence governing three-point shooting, British researchers have indeed found a jock gene. The gene in question, which comes in two forms called I and D (for "insertion" and "deletion"), is for angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), a key player in modulating salt and water balance, blood vessel dilation and maybe more. People carrying the D form are perfectly normal but will probably be at home watching television reports of people who have the I form planting flags on the top of Mount Everest.