COLOGNE, Germany (AP) – A German lab said Friday it has developed a new test for gene doping that should be ready for use at the 2012 London Olympics.

Gene doping, the practice of using genetic engineering to artificially enhance athletic performance, is believed by many to be the next frontier in drug cheating.

“The test is ready to be used. For sure we could go ahead with testing for gene doping at the 2012 Olympics in London and probably a lot sooner,” said Mario Thevis, a researcher who helped developed the test.

The test was developed at the Cologne Sports College, one of Germany’s leading anti-doping institutions, and still needs to be approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

“The proof is watertight, the procedure solid,” Thevis said. “Since we have a substance foreign to the body, the test is even more reliable.”

One of the drugs detected by the test is GW1516, an endurance-booster that has already been placed on WADA’s 2009 banned substances list.

“The GW1516 increases the volume of so-called endurance muscles as well as enzymes to gain energy from fat. In sport this substance could be abused to increase stamina,” a statement by the sports college said. “For the first time a substance for gene doping has been traced through mass spectrometry.”

AP-ES-03-20-09 1514EDT


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