Nutrigenetics

Nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics are defined as the science of the effect of genetic variation on dietary response and the role of nutrients and bioactive food compounds in gene expression, respectively. Exploitation of this genomic information along with high-throughput ‘omic’ technologies allows the acquisition of new knowledge aimed at obtaining a better understanding of nutrient-gene interactions depending on the genotype with the ultimate goal of developing personalized nutrition strategies for optimal health and disease prevention. There are three central factors that underpin nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics as an important science. First, there is great diversity in the inherited genome between ethnic groups and individuals which affects nutrient bioavailability and metabolism. Second, people differ greatly in their food/nutrient availability and choices depending on cultural, economic, geographical and taste perception differences. Third malnutrition itself can affect gene expression and genome stability; the latter leading to mutations at the gene sequence or chromosomal level which may cause abnormal gene dosage and gene expression leading to adverse phenotypes during the various life stages.

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