Event 1 Nutrigenomics

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LENScience Special Education Event Year 12 & 13,Nutrigenomics: Food to match my genes

What is Nutrigenomics?

Nutrigenomics is the study of how our genes influence how our body responds to, and uses nutrients and how nutrients affect gene expression and the synthesis, function, and repair of DNA. The goal of nutrigenomics research is to develop foods that can be matched to individual human genotypes to benefit the health of those individuals and enhance normal physiological processes.

There are two components to nutrigenomics:

  1. People with different genotypes have different health and disease risks in response to the same environmental exposure. A simple example of this is Phenylketonuria.
  2. People with same genotype have different health and disease risks response to environmental exposures. A simple example of this is Lactose Intolerance.To learn more about the genetics and evolutionary origins of lactase go here.

Finding out more about Nutrigenomics

We have prepared a background paper for students to use as an introduction to this context.

Useful Web Links


Research papers freely available online:

Zeisel, S. H., Freake, H. C., Bauman, D. E., Bier, D. M., Burrin, D. G., German, J. B., et al. (2005). The Nutritional Phenotype in the Age of Metabolomics. J Nutr., 135(7), 1613–1616.

Mead, M. N. (2007). Nutrigenomics: The Genome–Food Interface.Environ Health Perspect, 115(12), A582–A589.

Crohn's Disease

PTC tasting

PTC: Genes and bitter taste PTC belongs to the same group of chemicals as the chemical used in the taste test at the workshop.

The Folate Debate: Resources

Research papers freely available online:

Kim, Y.-I. (2004). Will mandatory folic acid fortification prevent or promote cancer?Am J Clin Nutr, 80(5), 1123-1128.

Johnston, R. B. J. (2008). Will Increasing Folic Acid in Fortified Grain Products Further Reduce Neural Tube Defects without Causing Harm?: Consideration of the Evidence. Pediatric Research, 63(1), 2-8

DeVos, L., Chanson, A., Liu, Z., Ciappio, E. D., Parnell, L. D., Mason, J. B., et al. (2008). Associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms in folate uptake and metabolizing genes with blood folate, homocysteine, and DNA uracil concentrations.Am J Clin Nutr, 88(4), 1149-1158.

Wolff, T., Witkop, C. T., Miller, T., & Syed, S. B. (2009). Folic Acid Supplementation for the Prevention of Neural Tube Defects: An Update of the Evidence for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Annals of Internal Medicine, 150(9), 632-639.

de Walle, H., & de Jong-van den Berg, L. (2008). Ten years after the Dutch public health campaign on folic acid: the continuing challenge.European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 64(5), 539-543.

Other sources of research papers:

Pub Med Central - the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature.

Epic - an initiative by New Zealand libraries to give New Zealand schools access to a worldwide range of online resources. You need a User ID and password, which is available from your school librarian.