The phenotypic expansion and its boundaries

Abstract : The development of sport performances in the future is a subject of myth and disagreement among experts. In particular, an article in 2004 [1] gave rise to a lively debate in the academic field. It stated that linear models can be used to predict human performance in sprint races in a far future. As arguments favoring and opposing such methodology were discussed, other publications empirically showed that the past development of performances followed a non linear trend [2, 3]. Other works, while deeply exploring the conditions leading to world records, highlighted that performance is tied to the economical and geopolitical context [4]. Here we investigated the following human boundaries : development of performances withtime in Olympic and non-Olympic events, development of sport performances with aging among humans and others species (greyhounds, thoroughbreds, mice). Development of performances from a broader point of view (demography & lifespan) in a specific sub-system centered on primary energy were also investigated. We show that all these developments are limited with time [5, 6, 7] and that previously introduced linear models are poor predictors of biological and physiological phenomena. Three major and direct determinants of sport performance are age [8, 9], technology [10, 11] and climatic conditions (temperature) [12]. However, all observed developments are related to the international context including the efficient use of primary energies. This last parameter is a major indirect propeller of performance development. We show that when physiological and societal performance indicators such as lifespan and population density depend on primary energies, the energy source, competition and mobility are key parameters for achieving longterm sustainable trajectories. Otherwise, the vast majority (98.7%) of the studied trajectories reaches 0 before 15 generations, due to the consumption of fossil energy and a low mobility rate. This led us to consider that in the present turbulent economical context and given the upcoming energy crisis, societal and physical performances are not expected to grow continuously.
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Submitted on : Monday, December 16, 2013 - 4:44:08 PM
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Geoffroy Berthelot. The phenotypic expansion and its boundaries. Agricultural sciences. Université René Descartes - Paris V, 2013. English. ⟨NNT : 2013PA05T029⟩. ⟨tel-00919393⟩

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