Nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics: the emerging faces of nutrition

David M. Mutch,Walter Wahli, Gary Williamson

2005 – ABSTRACT: The recognition that nutrients have the ability to interact and modulate molecular mechanisms underlying an organism’s physiological functions has prompted a revolution in the field of nutrition. Performing population-scaled epidemiological studies in the absence of genetic knowledge may result in erroneous scientific conclusions and misinformed nutritional recommendations. To circumvent such issues and more comprehensively probe the relationship between genes and diet, the field of nutrition has begun to capitalize on both the technologies and supporting analytical software brought forth in the post-genomic era. The creation of nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics, two fields with distinct approaches to elucidate the interaction between diet and genes but with a common ultimate goal to optimize health through the personalization of diet, provide powerful approaches to unravel the complex relationship between nutritional molecules, genetic polymorphisms, and the biological system as a whole. Reluctance to embrace these new fields exists primarily due to the fear that producing overwhelming quantities of biological data within the confines of a single study will submerge the original query; however, the current review aims to position nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics as the emerging faces of nutrition that, when considered with more classical approaches, will provide the necessary stepping stones to achieve the ambitious goal of optimizing an individual’s health via nutritional intervention.