Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Scientific Correspondence
  • Published:

Human gene for physical performance


A specific genetic factor that strongly influences human physical performance has not so far been reported, but here we show that a polymorphism in the gene encoding angiotensin-converting enzyme does just that. An ‘insertion’ allele of the gene is associated with elite endurance performance among high-altitude mountaineers. Also, after physical training, repetitive weight-lifting is improved eleven-fold in individuals homozygous for the ‘insertion’ allele compared with those homozygous for the ‘deletion’ allele.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Association of ACE alleles with performance.


  1. Katz, A. M. Heart Disease and Stroke 1, 151–154 (1992).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Danser, A. al. Circulation 92, 1387–1388 (1995).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Reneland, R. & Lithell, H. Scand. J. Clin. Lab. Invest. 54, 105–111 (1994).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Montgomery, H. al. Circulation 96, 741–747 (1997).

    Google Scholar 

  5. Miller, G. J., Bauer, K. A., Barzegar, S., Cooper, J. A. & Rosenberg, R. D. Thromb. Haemost. 75, 767–771 (1996).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Komi, P. V. in Biochemistry of Exercise VI (ed. Saltin, B.) 529-575 (Human Kinetics, Champaign, Illinois, 1986).

  7. Rutherford, O. M., Greig, C. A., Sargeant, A. J. & Jones, D. A. J. Sports Sci. 4, 101–107 (1986).

    Google Scholar 

  8. Jones, D. A. & Rutherford, O. M. J. Physiol. 391, 1–11 (1987).

    Google Scholar 

  9. Rennie, M. J., Winder, W. W. & Holloszy, O. Biochemistry 156, 647–655 (1976).

    Google Scholar 

  10. Bloom, S. R., Johnson, R. H., Park, D. M., Rennie, M. J. & Salaiman, W. R. J. Physiol. 258, 1–18 (1976).

    Google Scholar 

  11. Hudlicka, O. News Physiol. Sci. 3, 117–120 (1988).

    Google Scholar 

  12. Wasserman, D. H. & Vranic, M. in Biochemistry of Exercise VI (ed. Saltin, B.) 167-179 (Human Kinetics, Champaign, Illinois, 1986).

  13. SAS Institute. SAS Users Guide (SAS Institute, Cary, North Carolina, 1985).

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Montgomery, H., Marshall, R., Hemingway, H. et al. Human gene for physical performance. Nature 393, 221–222 (1998).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing