This study aimed to examine how genetic polymorphisms related to muscular strength and flexibility influence artistic gymnastic performance in an attempt to identify a novel polymorphism associated with flexibility. In study 1, the passive straight-leg-raise (PSLR) score and aromatase gene CYP19A1 rs936306 polymorphism, a key enzyme for estrogen biosynthesis, were assessed in 278 individuals. In study 2, athletes (281 gymnasts and 1908 other athletes) were asked about their competition level, and gymnasts were assessed using the difficulty score (D-score) for each event. Muscular strength- (ACTN3 R577X rs1815739 and ACE I/D rs4341) and flexibility-related (ESR1 rs2234693 T/C and CYP19A1 rs936306 C/T) genetic polymorphisms were analyzed. In study 1, males with the CYP19A1 CT + TT genotype showed significantly higher PSLR scores than those with the CC genotype. In study 2, male gymnasts with the R allele of ACTN3 R577X showed a correlation with the floor, rings, vault, and total D-scores. In addition, male gymnasts with the C allele of ESR1 T/C and T allele of CYP19A1 C/T polymorphisms were correlated with the pommel horse, parallel bars, horizontal bar, and total D-scores. Furthermore, genotype scores of these three polymorphisms correlated with the total D-scores and competition levels in male gymnasts. In contrast, no such associations were observed in female gymnasts. Our findings suggest that muscular strength- and flexibility-related polymorphisms play important roles in achieving high performance in male artistic gymnastics by specifically influencing the performance of events that require muscular strength and flexibility, respectively. Highlights Estrogen-related CYP19A1 polymorphism is a novel determinant of flexibility in males. Muscular strength- and flexibility-related polymorphisms play important roles in high performance in male artistic gymnastics. Genotypes of ACTN3 R577X, ESR1 rs2234693, and CYP19A1 rs936306 may contribute to training plan optimization and event selection in artistic gymnastics.
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