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22 — Using Testosterone levels to determine the sex of a women athlete.

2015-05-31. By Kelly.

Recently the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the International Olympic committee (IOC) policy that determines the eligibility of elite women athletes based on the testosterone (T) levels has been challenged by Dutee Chand. Dutee Chand is an Indian sprinter with naturally high T levels. In 2011, the T testing started to be used as a gender indicator for female athletes. However a GH-2000 study found that 13.7% of elite women athletes were above the typical female T levels and 4.7% were within the typical male range for T levels. (Science May 22, 2015) Later, a 2011 study of the Daegu World Championships showed only 1.5% of women athletes had T levels above the female reference range. (Science May 22, 2015) The differences found in the T levels of these two studies are the result of how the sera were analyzed. In the GH-2000 study an immunoassay (IA) was used and the Daegu 2011 study used mass spectrometry (MS). (Science May 22, 2015)

The Science Insight article mentioned many factors that can also impact T levels such as the duration of the exercise and type of sport, time of the testing, as well as positive feedback from a coach. This controversy over using T levels as a biological marker of sex is much more complex. More research needs to be done with careful consideration to the methods used to analyze the sera as well as the factors that impact T levels. After reading the article in Science, I was left with a few questions: How much would it cost to fund some good research? How much revenue is received from sporting events like the Olympics?...

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