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Old 04-05-07, 12:04 AM   #1
VT Biker
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DNA Testing Finally


This I hope will begin the process where cycling can finally clean up the sport. However, I am completely ignorant of the science behind how DNA can catch doping or EPO, steroid use etc... Can someone with a more qualified background shed some light as to how DNA testing will mitigate the risk of cheating?



Edited by Sue George

ProTour teams commit to DNA testing option
The UCI announced Wednesday that all 20 ProTour teams and all but a few of those teams' riders will participate in DNA profiling in an effort to address doping allegations. UCI President Pat McQuaid told the Associated Press (AP) that the agreement "gives us an important tool to work with".

On Tuesday it was revealed that DNA in a saliva sample from 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich was matched with that in blood bags labelled with the names "Jan," "number 1" or "Hijo Rudicio" ('son of Rudy') seized in the Operación Puerto investigation. Despite the recent evidence, Ullrich and his attorneys have maintained his innocence, denying any involvement in a blood doping program.

Per the agreement, riders would not put their DNA in a bank; instead they commit to do so if involved in a doping investigation that requires such evidence. In theory, the DNA information could enable riders to prove their innocence.

Speaking about the new measures, Gerrit Middag, general manager of the International Professional Cycling Teams (IPCT), told the AP, "It gives the right signal. In the long term, it will prove its value."

The half-dozen riders who have not committed to DNA profiling remain anonymous and currently do not face an official deadline to adhere to the new measures. However, at the launch of its new anti-doping initiative in March, the UCI announced that 100% of ProTour riders would commit to DNA testing, although it remains to be seen whether the new measures can be backdated to force ProTour riders implicated in Operación Puerto to provide DNA samples.

Although the Spanish courts have shelved the investigation, McQuaid has said the UCI will continue to address the Operación Puerto case. "We want to get all the truth out," he said."
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Old 04-05-07, 03:31 AM   #2
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I think the idea behind it is this:
(1) Riders have their DNA put on file or more likely just tested at a certain point
(2) If a urine or blood sample comes up positive for a banned substances, then the sample is tested.
(3) If the test in (2) matches the DNA from a particular rider from (1), then that person is considered "caught".


It's not that the DNA testing detects dopants. It doesn't. The idea is to match a particular sample to a particular rider without having to worry about figuring out whether a lab labeled samples properly and had the right code #'s for the right rider - think of the french lab that was involved with the Landis thing. What a mess that was. With DNA a lot less is left to doubt or speculation.
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Old 04-05-07, 05:29 AM   #3
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DNA testing is an extremely powerful tool- not only for the enforcement of laws but for the profiling of traits. I would be extremely nervous to have a private entity "hold" a typed sample and am therefore against the practice. Private bodies (such as WADA or the UCI) don't have sovereignty over themselves and can be forced by various sovereign nations (many with poor protections for people) to hand over the data for nefarious purposes. Just because we mostly live in fairly stable and fair countries doesn't mean the world is that way.

Think of what a boon cloning Vino would be to the economy of various poor country X.

There are other reasons that such a database should not be made that certainly outweigh the importance of cycling in the grand scheme of things.
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Old 04-05-07, 05:53 AM   #4
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Personally I feel that until WADA and the UCI demand the labs that do the testing adhere to protocol and procedure then all the testing in the world is meaningless. If we can't trust the results (and I don't) then DNA or any other type of testing has no validity. My suggestion would be that the riders give two sets of A and B samples and those samples are sent to two different labs and tested simultaneously.
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Old 04-05-07, 08:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor98
DNA testing is an extremely powerful tool- not only for the enforcement of laws but for the profiling of traits. I would be extremely nervous to have a private entity "hold" a typed sample and am therefore against the practice. Private bodies (such as WADA or the UCI) don't have sovereignty over themselves and can be forced by various sovereign nations (many with poor protections for people) to hand over the data for nefarious purposes. Just because we mostly live in fairly stable and fair countries doesn't mean the world is that way.

Think of what a boon cloning Vino would be to the economy of various poor country X.

There are other reasons that such a database should not be made that certainly outweigh the importance of cycling in the grand scheme of things.
Well said!!!
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Old 04-05-07, 08:35 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by VT Biker
This I hope will begin the process where cycling can finally clean up the sport.
If by "clean up," you mean "destroy," then you might be right.
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Old 04-05-07, 08:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by VT Biker

This I hope will begin the process where cycling can finally clean up the sport. However, I am completely ignorant of the science behind how DNA can catch doping or EPO, steroid use etc... Can someone with a more qualified background shed some light as to how DNA testing will mitigate the risk of cheating?
DNA testing can only be used to compare two blood samples and definitively answer if the blood is from the same source, it can only work to catch blood doping, which is now popular after synthetic EPO is now detectable. It can also be used to detect heterologous blood doping, i.e. Hamilton's case.

It will not help with drugs, hormones, etc. It will not help with rogue EPO -only the hemocrit test will help with this.

I wish people would stop posting the abuse of DNA testing scenarios, these scenarios would be extremely expensive and time consuming, and are already illegal in most of the world, including US and Europe, due to the use of DNA testing in crimes and diseases.
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Old 04-05-07, 09:18 AM   #8
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I thought this thread was about Anna Nicole Smith, Dannielynn and Howard K Stern. . .
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Old 04-05-07, 09:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Diablo Rojo
Personally I feel that until WADA and the UCI demand the labs that do the testing adhere to protocol and procedure then all the testing in the world is meaningless. If we can't trust the results (and I don't) then DNA or any other type of testing has no validity. My suggestion would be that the riders give two sets of A and B samples and those samples are sent to two different labs and tested simultaneously.
+1
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Old 04-05-07, 10:47 AM   #10
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About time. I'm done with professional cycling. If the Basso bomb drops, you'll see sponsors start to flee for the exits en masse.
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Old 04-05-07, 11:02 AM   #11
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PedalMasher:

I agree. But not just Basso. Anyone of the top riders. Basso, Bettini, Boonen.

This is why all 20 teams have agreed and their riders. Because they all see the writing on the wall. Unlike advertising at a ball game (say Budwieser adds in Left field), no one associates a sponsor with a team quite like cycling. Even in NASCAR, the racers have more of the focus than the sponsor. In cycling, the Sponsors really take more or a prominent role.

However - it would be terrible for cycling. So I do not wish this to happen. The interest in cycling in the US is rising still. The more cyclists, the better off we are as cyclists. It will mean more of a local focus on bike paths, bike lanes, and, hopefully, the more people who drive cars aware of the cyclists on the road.
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Old 04-05-07, 11:07 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by harlond
If by "clean up," you mean "destroy," then you might be right.
T-Mobile and CSC now have the strictest anti-doping controls in any sport. The problem is that there are now dirty and clean teams, but leaving it the way it was would kill the sport.
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Old 04-05-07, 11:08 AM   #13
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PedalMasher:

I agree. But not just Basso. Anyone of the top riders. Basso, Bettini, Boonen.
Bettini says he will quit before giving a DNA sample. He could prove he's clean, or maybe he knows something we don't yet.
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Old 04-05-07, 11:11 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by PedalMasher
About time. I'm done with professional cycling. If the Basso bomb drops, you'll see sponsors start to flee for the exits en masse.
No, they won't, they'll just impose an internal control mechanism independent of the directeurs and soigneurs, like T-mobile and CSC did.

no one is going to shy away from an audience of one billion in July.
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Old 04-05-07, 11:25 AM   #15
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Well - way to go Bettini. That will quell the doubters. What an ahole
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Old 04-05-07, 11:27 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocRay
Bettini says he will quit before giving a DNA sample. He could prove he's clean, or maybe he knows something we don't yet.
I can understand why some people wouldn't want to submit their DNA. There is so much more that people can do with DNA results besides just match people to a sample of tainted blood. There are huge ethical considerations because your DNA can say a lot about who you are or what you might be predisposed to. In fact, I think there are a lot of people who are considering genetic testing but who are afraid to do so because if insurance companies find out the results then it may affect their ability to get insurance. Anyways, I wouldn't want my DNA on file especially not with organizations that are so disorganized and subject to the problems mentioned in previous posts.
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Old 04-05-07, 11:32 AM   #17
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Snichlefritz:

I agree to some extent. But in this case, I think UCI and the ASO need to essentially tell the riders

"Look - we understand there are privacy concerns. But quite frankly, the sport will not survive another round of disqualifications, accusations and continued doubt within the public about cheating. So if you are really concerned about your privacy, we understand, and you can drop out now and go do something else. Bettini, I see your hand is raised? What - you have little education and really no other skills to provide the world at all except cycling? Hmmmm, well - sounds like your, oh what is the term, sh*t out of luck then. Better give us your blood and hair."
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Old 04-05-07, 11:38 AM   #18
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For those of you who support the idea that all the riders should hand over DNA samples let me ask you this. Would you hand over a DNA sample, or any sample, be it blood or urine, to an organization that does not follow it's simplest of protocols? One that does not keep the chain of custody in tact? One that does not follow the rules of anonymity? One that leaks to the press your results before you even have a hearing? Why in Gods name should these riders trust WADA and the UCI with this information when these two organizations have shown time and again to disregard their own rules? Remember you have no recourse to have you samples tested by anyone else. You have no way to defend yourself but to claim innocence. So yeah you can call Bettini an a-hole for not giving a sample...but ask yourself if you were in his shoes would you?
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Old 04-05-07, 01:55 PM   #19
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DNA testing of athletes is can of worms that shouldn't be opened.
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Old 04-05-07, 02:25 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
I can understand why some people wouldn't want to submit their DNA. There is so much more that people can do with DNA results besides just match people to a sample of tainted blood. There are huge ethical considerations because your DNA can say a lot about who you are or what you might be predisposed to. In fact, I think there are a lot of people who are considering genetic testing but who are afraid to do so because if insurance companies find out the results then it may affect their ability to get insurance. Anyways, I wouldn't want my DNA on file especially not with organizations that are so disorganized and subject to the problems mentioned in previous posts.
First, to do a genome screen that you are suggesting would cost $200,000 a person and 6 months or more. Second, there are already laws that prohibit the use of DNA or any medical testing for reasons you suggest, 5 years in jail. My lab works with DNA samples, if anyone does anything other than what was approved by the donors, I could be sued and thrown in jail. This is law since 2000. There cannot be a "can of worms". They don't even need the whole DNA, they only need a small PCR-amplified piece to identify it as unique DNA sequence.

Thirdly, the big-brother scenario that people like to fantasize about could have been easily done to date with a large variety of simple medical tests, but has never happened. And finally, the US is the only country in the western world that does not require universal health care, so most riders are unaffected, even if someone did steal the DNA and do some work in a underground lab.

This is all a bullsh+t smokescreen, with DNA testing, they could match blood bags, they could also identify who used what needles often found around hotels at bike races, and the riders know this.

What bugs me is that the current cycling stars don't want an even playing field, they like the way it is. Two notable exceptions are Eric Zabel and Jens voigt, who have offered their DNA.
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Old 04-05-07, 02:34 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by El Diablo Rojo
For those of you who support the idea that all the riders should hand over DNA samples let me ask you this. Would you hand over a DNA sample, or any sample, be it blood or urine, to an organization that does not follow it's simplest of protocols? One that does not keep the chain of custody in tact? One that does not follow the rules of anonymity? One that leaks to the press your results before you even have a hearing? Why in Gods name should these riders trust WADA and the UCI with this information when these two organizations have shown time and again to disregard their own rules? Remember you have no recourse to have you samples tested by anyone else. You have no way to defend yourself but to claim innocence. So yeah you can call Bettini an a-hole for not giving a sample...but ask yourself if you were in his shoes would you?
If I were making 500,000 euros a year+ to ride a bike, I would feel obliged to prove I was clean. These guys want it all: glory, unfair advantage, big salary and no doping standards to follow.
As for the breaking of rules in testing, you've been reading too much Landis propaganda. That guy has been spewing lies and misinformation from the minute he was caught, exactly like Hamilton, Ullrich and Basso.
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Old 04-05-07, 02:37 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocRay
If I were making 500,000 euros a year+ to ride a bike, I would feel obliged to prove I was clean. These guys want it all: glory, unfair advantage, big salary and no doping standards to follow.
As for the breaking of rules in testing, you've been reading too much Landis propaganda. That guy has been spewing lies and misinformation from the minute he was caught, exactly like Hamilton, Ullrich and Basso.
Exactly like the UCI who also says that the lab broke it's own protocols. The lab has admitted to not following it's own protocols so it's not just propaganda from accused riders. Look I agree that these guys should be tested and I'm not against using DNA. What I'm saying is since WADA can't follow it's own rules and protocols then the riders should not submit to testing until they do.
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Old 04-05-07, 02:40 PM   #23
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Well then the answer seems to be that the athletes submit a DNA sample, and if there is later any kind of lab mistake, no matter how small, then the athletes are presumed innocent and all investigations/punishment/suspensions are dropped.
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Old 04-05-07, 02:42 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocRay
If I were making 500,000 euros a year+ to ride a bike, I would feel obliged to prove I was clean. These guys want it all: glory, unfair advantage, big salary and no doping standards to follow.
As for the breaking of rules in testing, you've been reading too much Landis propaganda. That guy has been spewing lies and misinformation from the minute he was caught, exactly like Hamilton, Ullrich and Basso.
This would make you quite unique in the annals of professional sports, mon petit bonehead.
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Old 04-05-07, 03:02 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocRay
First, to do a genome screen that you are suggesting would cost $200,000 a person and 6 months or more. Second, there are already laws that prohibit the use of DNA or any medical testing for reasons you suggest, 5 years in jail. My lab works with DNA samples, if anyone does anything other than what was approved by the donors, I could be sued and thrown in jail. This is law since 2000. There cannot be a "can of worms". They don't even need the whole DNA, they only need a small PCR-amplified piece to identify it as unique DNA sequence.

Thirdly, the big-brother scenario that people like to fantasize about could have been easily done to date with a large variety of simple medical tests, but has never happened. And finally, the US is the only country in the western world that does not require universal health care, so most riders are unaffected, even if someone did steal the DNA and do some work in a underground lab.

This is all a bullsh+t smokescreen, with DNA testing, they could match blood bags, they could also identify who used what needles often found around hotels at bike races, and the riders know this.

What bugs me is that the current cycling stars don't want an even playing field, they like the way it is. Two notable exceptions are Eric Zabel and Jens voigt, who have offered their DNA.
You act like US law protects riders everywhere. DNA tested here may have all the protections you mention but can you speak for the protections everywhere cycling occurs? I don't know all the risks- I do know that there are many (evidenced by the passage of various laws around the globe) and I know that many places have no such laws. That makes the first part of your post irrelevant. Does this law since 2000 cover a rider in Kazakhstan?

I don't know what universal health care has to do with anything nor for the most part what US heath care has to do with European pro-cycling. I do know that the UCI and WADA have major problems following their own rules so why on earth would anyone want to give such powerful information to them?

They are not just talking about profiling DNA enough to match blood sample but also to ascertain chemical enhancements. Thats a lot more DNA analysis there than simple matching samples to blood bags. Do the teams get access to this profiling and can they use it as they see fit? Again, we cannot assume everyone is as honest or as ethical as we would hope to be. Why entertain a program so open to abuse?
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