Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Human physical performance is strongly influenced by genetic factors. A variation in the structure of the human angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) gene has been reported in which the insertion (I) variant is associated with lower ACE levels than the deletion (D) gene. We have previously reported that the I variant was associated with improved endurance performance in high-altitude mountaineers and British Army recruits. We now examine this genotype distribution in 91 British Olympic-standard runners (79 Caucasians). DNA was extracted from the buccal cells contained in 10 ml of saline mouthwash donated by the subjects, and the I and D variants of the ACE gene were identified by PCR amplification of the polymorphic region. There was an increasing frequency of the I allele with distance run [0.35, 0.53, and 0.62 for </=200 m (n = 20), 400-3,000 m (n = 37), and >/=5,000 m (n = 34), respectively; P = 0.009 for linear trend]. Among 404 Olympic-standard athletes from 19 other mixed sporting disciplines (in which endurance performance was not necessarily a key factor), the I allele did not differ significantly from that found in control subjects: 0.50 vs. 0.49 (P = 0.526). These results support a positive association of the I allele with elite endurance performance.

Original publication




Journal article


J Appl Physiol (1985)

Publication Date





1313 - 1316


Alleles, Female, Gene Frequency, Humans, Male, Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A, Physical Endurance, Running