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Nutrigenomics—new approaches for human nutrition research


  • Helen M Roche

    Corresponding author
    1. Nutrigenomics Research Group, Institute of Molecular Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
    • Nutrigenomics Research Group, Institute of Molecular Medicine, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
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Food intake and nutrient exposure are key environmental factors involved in the pathogenesis and progression of the common polygenic, diet-related diseases. An individual's phenotype represents a complex interaction between the human genome and environmental factors during an individual's lifetime. This review explores the concept that there is a dynamic, two-way interaction between nutrition and the human genome which determines gene expression, the metabolic response and an individual's health status. It addresses the relevance of new high-throughput genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic technologies within human nutrition research. Common, polygenic, diet-related diseases (CVD, obesity, T2DM, etc.) reflect multiple genetic variants interacting with numerous environmental factors, each combination making a relatively small contribution to overall cellular homeostasis, whole body metabolism and health. This review highlights the value of a nutrigenomics-based systems biology approach to understanding human nutrition and identifying new biomarkers of nutrition and health. The challenge will be to develop and apply robust nutritional genomics research initiatives that are sensitive enough to take account of both human genetic heterogeneity and diverse nutrient exposure. If nutrigenomic approaches enhance our understanding of human nutrition at the molecular level, then it may be possible to apply a more targeted and effective personalized nutrition approach to attenuate the effect of risk factors associated with diet-related diseases. Indeed it could be proposed that a personalized nutrition approach may assist in improving the effectiveness of dietary guidelines/recommendations in general. Copyright © 2006 Society of Chemical Industry