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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 132  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 747-748

Nutrigenomics: Opportunities in Asia (Forum of nutrition)

Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital & KEM Hospital, Pune 411 011, India

Date of Web Publication9-Apr-2011

Correspondence Address:
Koumudi Godbole
Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital & KEM Hospital, Pune 411 011
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Godbole K. Nutrigenomics: Opportunities in Asia (Forum of nutrition). Indian J Med Res 2010;132:747-8

How to cite this URL:
Godbole K. Nutrigenomics: Opportunities in Asia (Forum of nutrition). Indian J Med Res [serial online] 2010 [cited 2021 May 6];132:747-8. Available from:

Nutrigenomics: Opportunities in Asia (Forum of nutrition),

vol. 60, E.S. Tai & P.J. Gillies, editors (S. Karger, Switzerland) 2007. 248 pages. Price: US$ 231.00

ISBN 978-3- 8055-8216-2

This publication is based on the scientific sessions of the 1 st international conference on Nutrigenomics organized by the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) at Singapore, in December 2005 with a focus on opportunities in Asia. It is conceptualized as an introduction to the concepts, methods and application of nutrigenomics and its relevance to the Asian health and nutrition professionals as well as scientists.

This book is mainly composed of three sections: the Concepts and Methods in Nutrigenomics, Nutrigenomics and Health, and Application of Nutrigenomics to the food industry. It is concluded by an article emphasizing on scientific international collaborations to develop promising nutrigenomics and an executive summary of the 1 st ILSI Conference on Nutrigenomics.

The first section on Concepts and Methods in Nutrigenomics starts with a thought provoking article "Nutrition in the Omics Era" by JA Milner. It provides basic principles about how genomic advances can assist overcoming inconsistencies in scientific literature regarding diet for health promotion and disease prevention. Predictive biomarkers to evaluate the response to foods and dietary supplements, DNA polymorphisms (SNPs) that influence response to food components and genomic regulation by food components through epigenetics have been discussed. Author also discusses the role of transcriptomics and proteomics to explain the changes in gene expression which can alter gene-nutrient interactions and metabolomics to understand dynamic relationships between metabolic inadequacy (e.g. plasma amino acid deficiency) and cellular processes. Nutrigenetics chapter by El-Sohemy explains how diet can directly or indirectly influence health by interacting with the genome (DNA methylation and gene expression) as well as through genetic variations affecting nutrient digestion, absorption, metabolism, biotransformation, etc. Author suggests incorporation of genetic markers in the design of nutritional epidemiologic studies to clarify the role of both genetic and lifestyle factors in the development of chronic diseases. The chapter by Lynne Cobiac discusses epigenomics and the complexities brought in by the range of food choices, diversity of nutrient intakes, differences in genetic backgrounds and physiological environment that affect the gene-nutrient interaction through DNA methylation and histone acetylation to alter gene expression and in turn the phenotype, without altering the nucleotide sequence. The following chapter discusses how epigenetics is the mechanism underlying DOHaD philosophy (Developmental Origins of Health and Disease) and role of early nutrition in modifying the malleable "epigenome". Michael Fenech addresses the link between genomic damage and adverse health outcomes such as cancer in the chapter on Nutrition and Genome Health. He provides examples of how specific micronutrient deficiencies including vitamin E, C, B group vitamins and elements such as iron, zinc and selenium, affect genomic stability. He discusses the need to consider a new paradigm for recommended dietary allowances (RDA) to prevent diseases of development, degeneration and ageing, citing examples of folate and vitamin B 12 . This chapter makes the reader envisage "nutritional prevention" of developmental and degenerative disease, through "Genome Health Clinics". Another chapter later in this section by Young discusses evolution of cancer from a disordered and unstable genome and protective role of apoptosis against oncogenesis. Other two articles on Proteomics and High Throughput Genotyping discuss modern methods that help in conducting large scale population based studies to determine a multitude of markers at a time. Chapter by Slamet-Loedin and Jenie describes about the Ethical and Social Implications of Nutrigenomics such as consent and confidentiality issues in collecting and storing data, genetic discrimination, and public opinion about biotechnology-related science and emphasizes on the need of clear and concise guidelines, developed in accordance with the universally adopted declarations.

The second section includes presentations on nutrient-gene interactions relevant to specific health and disease states. Chapters such as Genetics and gene-nutrient interactions of lipoprotein metabolism, Diabetes epidemic in India, Role of MTHFR and folates in gastroesophageal cancers, Osteoporosis and Eye Health mainly review the available literature to explain interactions between various SNPs and diet to modify a disease phenotype. Chapter by Hung describes how a common dietary flavonoid, quercetin inhibits proliferation of lung carcinoma cells.

The third section deals with application of Nutrigenomics to the food industry and starts with a discussion about food preferences. Authors suggest that identifying populations with preference for particular flavours or foods may lead to development of novel food products targeted to specific genotypes or ethnic populations. The following chapter discusses prospects for improving dairy and meat products by understanding the health effects of food components at molecular level. The chapter on probiotics depicts the story of development of proprietary probiotic strains that are safe and offer protection against human pathogens by modulating immune markers, without unwanted side-effects or risk of overdose.

The concluding chapter describes the challenges in defining gene-nutrient interactions because of chemical complexity of food, genetic heterogeneity of humans and complexity of physiological responses to nutrient intake in health and disease. Author acknowledges three significant developments including high throughput "omic" technologies, improved experimental designs and development of research collaborations to study complex biological processes which are promising for the progress of nutrigenomics.

The book ends with an executive summary covering a wide array of topics presented through the nine plenary sessions of the 1 st ILSI Conference on Nutrigenomics. It concludes that the future of nutrigenomics in Asia is bright considering broad culinary, cultural and ethnic diversity and expresses the need for human resource development, favourable policies and sufficient logistics, participation of private sector, establishment of centres of excellence and national/international linkages and ethical and effective communication of the progress to health care community and consumer.

Overall, this book generates interest in nutrigenomics and its implications in health and disease. It would have been further interesting if discussion about birth defects, especially neural tube defects that prevail in India and Asia were also a part of this book as the underlying mechanisms might possibly be different from the western world given the dietary, genetic and ethnic variations.


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