Eighty percent of French sport winners in Olympic, World and Europeans competitions have mutations in the hemochromatosis HFE gene

Biochimie. 2015 Dec;119:1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2015.09.028. Epub 2015 Sep 28.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Athletes
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Female
  • France
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Hemochromatosis Protein / genetics*
  • Hemochromatosis Protein / metabolism
  • Heterozygote*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Martial Arts
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Development / genetics*
  • Mutation*
  • Physical Endurance / genetics*
  • Skiing
  • Young Adult


  • HFE protein, human
  • Hemochromatosis Protein