Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Michael Markey (Advisor), Madhavi Kadakia (Committee Member), Richard Chapleau (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Understanding the inter-individual variability in physical fitness performance has been the focus of scientific research for decades especially in the United States military. Injury and physical inadequacy cost the U.S military millions of dollars every year. The project PHITE (Precision High Intensity Training through Epigenetics) was funded to investigate this personal complex trait by combing the genetic and epigenetic (non-shared environmental factors) contributions into a single model for physical training response. This project is set up as having 150 male and female recruits between the ages of 18-27 years old. Each participant is randomly put blind into either a high intensity or moderate intensity (group A or group B) 12-week training program. The training response was measured by various means including % change in chest press, lat pull, VO2max, among others and muscle biopsies and blood samples were collected regularly. The genetic contribution was examined by using Taqman qPCR genotyping for common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) found in the literature to contribute to physical performance. By combining the genotyping data with the training response data, it was hypothesized that the training response would be different depending on the training group assigned and that genotype can be used to develop a predictor for training response. There were two main aims that were investigated for this hypothesis: the performance difference between the high and moderate intensity; and whether genotype could be used as a predictor of this training response. Individual training responses and overall performance in each training group was investigated using ANOVA analysis. It was determined that there wasn’t a significant difference in individual training responses for each group, but overall performance in group B was significantly higher than group A (p=0.0059). Five different analyses were used to investigate whether genotype could be used as a predictor for training response: ANOVA of beneficial allele score, ANOVA of performance score, Fisher’s exact test, ANOVA of individual performance results, and GWAS analysis. 16 SNPs were found to be associated with either individual training responses or overall performance response. These results support the importance of considering genotype in any model of physical training response.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Year Degree Awarded