Will nutrigenomics mean that all our food will be genetically engineered?

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Offline echochartruse

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'Nutrigenomics is a discipline that investigates the correlation between nutrients and the human genome.'

Researchers at Kansas State University recently published an academic journal article discussing the potential for nutrigenomics, a field that studies the effects of food on gene expression. The researchers discussed the possibility of using food to prevent an individual's genes from expressing disease. The researchers said nutrigenomics could completely change the future of public health and the food and culinary industries.

Will our food become genetically engineered to suit our own genome in the future?

Harnessing MiRNA Natural Gene Repressors For Anticancer Therapy

or will it be easier just to genetically engineer the individual?.

« Last Edit: 13/09/2010 02:56:20 by echochartruse »
A view with an open mind


Offline Jessica H

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I think it's a lot easier to engineer a plant!!!


Offline iko

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Hi echochartruse,

...what a strange nickname: me'd like to know its 'history'!!!  [:)]
Nutrigenomics, in my mind, means to study our different genes and try to adapt little genetic 'defects' to our basic diet.
I tried to give an example of this some time ago:

May I be so bold and hark back somewhat to the original question about wether we need supplements or not?
For I think there is also another important issue here to consider which has not been addressed.

Quote from: Iko mentioned
If the combination of foodstuff we eat from time to time is correct, thanks to our family traditions and culture, for example, we probably won't have any deficiency problem from the cradle to the end of our life.

That would indeed be great but we also have to take into account that much produce (veg & fruit)seem to have 'lost' quite a bit of their mineral/vitamin content vs e.g. 70 years ago.

Hi Alandriel,

of course yours is a good question and no proper answer is available right now.
If we refer to recommended doses for 'perfect health' instead of deficiency-preventing needed daily amount we get lost and no simple and practical suggestion is available.

Sometimes the easier way is chosen if a scientist has got enough authority to push his theory and show the right 'evidences':   Linus Pauling tried to convince his collegues that we need at least 2grams of ascorbic acid per day because that is the average amount that monkeys get from their natural diets, and they 'lost' the enzyme to make vitamin C by themselves million years ago (like we humans).
I see tiny black spots and a lot of unknown things in this issue.
The major problem is that as humans, we are all unique and different (fortunately!), and our biological diversity and enzyme defects could make different diets sort out huge differences in the resulting 'state of health'.
We all know about gluten intolerance (celiac disease) and other food intolerances and allergies, but those diet-related ailments had been properly studied and evaluated only in the last few decades. So we may see a longer list in the future.
As far as cofactors and vitamins are concerned, I'll mention just one recent example for many to come, to underline how an invisible genetic defect and consequent enzyme abnormality with metabolic impairment can be adjusted by a proper diet:

Look at the MTHFR enzyme in this picture.  Imagine that this molecule, a complex protein with catalytic properties, in a certain human had a defect, due to an inherited genetic mutation, resulting in a wrong aminoacid close to its active site.  This genetically abnormal protein will not be able to work at regular speed and produce enough 5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate to form methionine from homocysteine.  Homocysteine will accumulate inside and outside the cells with toxic effects.  Tiny vessels may be damaged by toxic levels of homocysteine and a stroke may result from those lesions.
But cofactors can help in some enzyme defects: in this particular case, increasing folic acid, vitamin B12 and B6 in the diet (look at the homocysteine crossroad in the diagram), higher cofactors availability is able to speed up enzyme activity and normalize this particular metabolic pathway.  So homocysteine is efficiently transformed and cannot accumulate anymore in the body, tiny vessels are happy again and the probability of a sudden vascular catastrophe will fall down.
Theoretically, patients can regularly check their homocysteine and test special diets rich in those cofactors, without taking any supplement.
Many more examples of metabolic defects like this will probably be defined in the near future, so the final answer to your question will be: "Each of us needs his own cofactors".

And the lot of us need cod liver oil!  [;D]

Take care


« Last Edit: 19/09/2010 10:30:16 by iko »