I was curious about whether any of the numerous documented human hemoglobin variants conferred a quantifiable athletic advantage but the only thing I've found of any relevance is the relative oxygen affinity of each hemoglobin variant. From the bit of research I've done it seems to be the case that a higher oxygen affinity causes the hemoglobin to hold onto oxygen more tightly and not release it into the plasma at the same rate as normal hemoglobin, leading to the body overproducing red blood cells to compensate for this (erythrocytosis). On the other hand, lower oxygen affinity causes the hemoglobin to release oxygen more readily, leading to the underproduction of red blood cells (anemia).

Assuming the quantity of blood cells were normalized between the two (so the consequent erythrocytosis/anemia is mitigated) would the lower oxygen affinity confer an increase in maximal oxygen uptake? How about higher oxygen affinity?



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