2/09/2006

Nutrigenomics

Nutrigenomics experts worldwide have aligned, and they are calling for teamwork. José Ordovas, PhD, director of the Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University joined more than eighty other leading researchers in the fields of nutrition and genetics to co-author a report outlining their strategy for maximizing the impact of nutrigenomics research on global poverty and health.

As Jim Kaput, PhD, of University of California, Davis, Ordovas, and their many colleagues write in the British Journal of Nutrition, their goal is to create an international consortium with which to harness the power and expertise of a large collaborative network of nutritional genomics researchers dedicated to investigating how genetics and nutrition can promote health or prevent disease.

"Advancing our knowledge of diet-gene interactions is critical," says Ordovas, who is also a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts, "but knowledge alone is not sufficient for us to effectively address health disparities and combat chronic disease throughout the world." He emphasizes that scientists must collaborate with scholars and policy makers, as well.

Potential benefits include developing new diagnostic tests for adverse responses to food, identifying specific populations of people who have special nutrient needs, revealing previously undiscovered nutrient-gene interactions, improving current methods for dietary assessment, and assisting in creating more nutritious foods and formulations.

Since some racial and ethnic populations suffer disproportionately from specific chronic diseases, it is important that they are included as participants in nutrigenomic research studies. The consortium proposes the development of protocols to address the ethical, social and legal issues of study sponsorship and benefit sharing, public engagement, consent, and data protection.

The future of nutritional genomics is collaboration

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