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Aurora magazine

What determines physical strength?

Cambridge University researchers have identified genes responsible for physical strength. The study analyzed the data of more than 140,000 British individuals, combined with those of 50,000 Dutch, Danish and Australians.

Dan Wright, the lead author of the study, studied the strength of the hold of nearly 200,000 individuals. The number of participants helped has understood the mechanisms behind a powerful handshake. He and his team have found 16 genetic variants commonly associated with muscle strength.

Scientists suspected that muscle strength was also the result of genes but lacked evidence. Now there are and many of the identified variants are placed in fundamental genes for muscle functions. Some of the genes in question determine the structure and behavior of muscle fibers. Others are essential for communication between the nervous system and muscle cells.

Discovery is also important for medical research. Some mutations are associated with severe monogenetic syndromes, caused by individual genetic abnormalities. This shows that variations in these genes can cause pathologies and affect the level of physical force. Discovery could therefore help study new treatments against excessive muscular weakness.

Beyond the muscular force, the strength of a handshake could also indicate the general state of health of the individual. It was thought to be associated with the risk of early mortality, cardiovascular disease, and fractures. Before the study, however, it was unclear how all these factors were bound together. Actually, according to Cambridge scholars, a force majeure lowers the risk of illness, but a smaller force does not raise it in any way.