Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Nutrigenomics - Eat according to your genome

If you knew that you were especially susceptible to heart disease when you gained weight, would it increase your motivation to diet? How much would you be willing to pay to find out if you are one of the lucky people who can eat as much fat as you want and not have an increased risk of heart disease? Such tests are the goal of nutrigenomics, which seeks to identify the links between nutrition and disease based on an individual's genome.

While the field is still too young to offer personal dietary advice for the average consumer, research has uncovered links among genes, diet, and heart disease. Jose Ordovas, director of the Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory at Tufts University, has spent years studying the link between metabolism of dietary fats and risk of cardiovascular disease. After analyzing data from the Framingham Heart Study, a large-scale study that has traced the health of some 5,000 people since 1948, his team has found that certain genetic variants can protect people from diet-induced cardiovascular disease--or put them at increased risk. Ordovas spoke with Technology Review about his research and the future of the field.

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