Many of us recognize that some individuals seem ‘gifted’ in sporting ability. We may also have noted the association of such elite performance with past parental success, recognizing intuitively the role of inherited traits. With the expansion of molecular biology and associated technologies, we now find ourselves better able to explore these genetic influences. This article examines the role of the renin–angiotensin system in regulating physical performance, based on data arising from candidate gene-association studies. In particular, the association of angiotensin-converting enzyme genotype with performance-related phenotypes will be addressed. Finally, we will briefly discuss the applicability of this data to disease states such as heart failure.

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