Nutrigenomics is the study of how constituents of the diet interact with genes, and their products, to alter phenotype and, conversely, how genes and their products metabolise these constituents into nutrients, antinutrients, and bioactive compounds. Results from molecular and genetic epidemiological studies indicate that dietary unbalance can alter gene-nutrient interactions in ways that increase the risk of developing chronic disease. The interplay of human genetic variation and environmental factors will make identifying causative genes and nutrients a formidable, but not intractable, challenge. We provide specific recommendations for how to best meet this challenge and discuss the need for new methodologies and the use of comprehensive analyses of nutrient-genotype interactions involving large and diverse populations. The objective of the present paper is to stimulate discourse and collaboration among nutrigenomic researchers and stakeholders, a process that will lead to an increase in global health and wellness by reducing health disparities in developed and developing countries.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Interdisciplinary research is being fostered within institutions (Cech & Rubin, 2004) and through national and international collaborations. Four of these multi-institutional and national initiatives are examples of collaborative efforts for nutritional genomics research. The Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacogenomics Knowledge Base, also known as PharmGKB, developed by Stanford University, is funded by the National Institutes of Health and is part of a nationwide collaborative research consortium called the Pharmacogenetics Research Network (National Institute of General Medical Services, 2005; Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacogenomics Knowledge Base, 2005). PharmGKB is building a knowledge base with accurate and detailed definitions of genotypes and phenotypes involved in individual responses to different medications. Data are generated by the US National Institutes of Health-funded projects in twelve individual laboratories.
Scientists from twenty-two organisations in the European Union have formed the European Nutrigenomics Organization (NuGO; www.nugo.org). Approximately 650 scientists belong to this organisation with the key objective of development and promotion of mechanistic nutrition and health research through the application of ‘omics’ technologies. This is achieved through the development of joint research programmes and stimulation of facility sharing, facilitating education, communication, commercialisation, and dissemination of information. Development, data warehousing, and exploitation of nutrition-and health-related bioinformatics for European nutrition and nutrigenomics researchers and communities are key issues. The formation of NuGO is funded by the European Union. NuGO is fostering collaborations among members through targeted funding and an interactive website, which hosts discussion groups on subjects related to nutrigenomics research methods and results.
Many of the authors of the present paper have already contributed significantly to the field of nutrigenomics, our current understanding of nutrient–gene interactions, and/or the effects of diet on health. It was not possible to reference all of these contributions in the paper. Although many contributed to this paper, primary support was obtained from the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Center of Excellence in Nutritional Genomics, Grant MD 00222; from the New Zealand Foundation for Research Science and Technology Nutrigenomics New Zealand (8677 NTGN CRFO); National Institutes of Health/NHLBI grant HL54776, contracts 53-K06-5-10 and 58-1950-9-001 from the US Department of Agriculture Research Service; and from the European Union, Eu FP6 NoE Grant, Contract No. CT2004-505944.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics