The HFE gene encodes a protein involved in iron homeostasis; individuals with mutations in both alleles develop hemochromatosis. 27% of the French population is heterozygous for mutations in this gene. We found that 80% of the French athletes who won international competitions in rowing, Nordic skiing and judo display mutations in one allele of HFE, thus demonstrating the existence of a favourable phenotype linked to this heterozygosity.
Keywords: Athlete; Gene; HFE mutation frequency; Iron.
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