A new understanding of the genetics of muscle metabolism and performance could eventually lead to new chemical methods for boosting your muscle power. The researchers at Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth College bred a mouse genetically engineered to express a particular enzyme related to muscle activity and were surprised by the rodent's superpowers. The research was published in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism. From a Dartmouth Medical School news release:
Like a trained athlete, this mouse enjoyed increased capacity to exercise, manifested by its ability to run three times longer than a normal mouse before exhaustion. One particularly striking feature of the finding was the accumulation of muscle glycogen, the stored form of carbohydrates–what many athletes seek by "carbo-loading" before an event or game…
"Our genetically altered mouse appears to have already been on an exercise program," says (Dartmouth professor) Lee Witters… "In other words, without a prior exercise regimen, the mouse developed many of the muscle features that would only be observed after a period of exercise training…"
"We now wonder if it's possible to achieve elements of muscular fitness without having to exercise, which in turn, raises many questions about possible modes of exercise performance enhancement, including the development of drugs that could do the same thing as we have done genetically," he says. "This also might raise to some the specter of 'gene doping,' something seriously being talked about in the future of high-performance athletes."