Nutrigenomics, short for nutritional genomics, is a relatively new science area examining how nutrition and food, at the molecular level, affect health through interaction with genes and, ultimately, gene expression.
For example, in the future, nutragenomics research could be used to develop customized dietary plans or to modify the body's biochemical response to target foods, based on individuals' genetic composition. Primary areas of nutrigenomics include exploring dietary constituents related to disease risk reduction, prevention and treatment, and understanding the role of genes in nutritional requirements.
While potential societal benefits are enormous, nutrigenomics raises some ethical issues concerning genetic testing and the potential high cost of new highly personalized functional foods. The International Society of Nutrigenetics/Nutrigenomics is the scientific organization for researchers in nutrigenomics. At University of California, Davis, the Center of Excellence for Nutritional Genomics (funded by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities) publishes the free Nutrigenomic Alert e-newsletter with updates in the field of nutrigenomics.
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