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What is nutrigenetics?

Watch Chiara provide an overview of nutrigenetics, gene variance and explain the impact of the Human Genome Project (HGP) on nutrition science.
CHIARA MURGIA: A study of how genetic backgrounds and gene variants affect the response to food and diet pattern is called nutrigenetics. The completion of the Human Genome Project resulted in a big push in the technologies that allow the sequencing of nucleic acid and the identification of new gene variants. The last time I checked the database in November 2016, under 57 millions of gene variants were identified. And the combination of the gene variants makes the genetic background of each individual and make each individual in the human species a different person from the next. And that includes also the way we respond to food and diet pattern.
Then the identification of gene variants and the way they affect each of our physiology has changed the way medicine is practised. The challenge for us in nutrition science is to apply that knowledge in our field and to understand and eventually translate it into practise how variance of a gene affect the response to food and food components. In other words, in nutrition science, we aim to evaluate how specific gene variants can impact nutrient requirements. And that’s what nutrigenetics focus on. While evidence around this area are accumulating really fast, and this is a very exciting moment to being in nutrition science, we have to be aware of the complexity of this system.
Each nutrient has a metabolite that involve multiple gene and their products. And so while we are getting information on the number of gene variants, there are still a lot of unknown one. And also it’s quite crucial and critical to be able to put all the information around different polymorphous and different genes together. And here comes the role of the bioinformatics. New technologies are, computation of technologies, are developing that will help us to put this information together and make sense of it. So the good thing is that we are understanding the mechanism behind the differential response that each of us has on food and the diet and lifestyle.
And that will help the health professionals to approach each of us as an individual.

Watch Chiara provide an overview of nutrigenetics, gene variance and explain the impact of findings from the Human Genome Project (HGP) on nutrition science.

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Food as Medicine: Food and our Genome

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