August 5-21, 2016 -- Brazil’s Doping Control Laboratory will analyse more than 7,300 samples of athletes’ urine and blood for over 200 prohibited substances and their metabolites. Athletes at the Rio Games face tests for the first time for “gene doping”, the illicit injection of DNA to boost an athlete's performance.
Gene doping involves injecting synthetic genes for the erythropoietin (EPO) hormone which artificially stimulates the production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells in the body.
While intravenous EPO has been detectable for years, injected DNA is undetectable using standard tests.
Now, the World Anti-Doping Agency accredited laboratory in Australia has developed a test to identify the presence of synthetic genes for the EPO hormone.