Summary for Library of Congress control number 2007279898


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The integration of biology, genomics, and health has opened the pos-
sibility of applying genomics technology to nutrition. In 2001, scientists
associated with the Human Genome Project announced the successful
mapping of the reference sequence of the human genome. The implications
of this achievement to science have been enormous. Since then, a body of
information has emerged, including genetic and genomic sequence data,
further evidence of nutrient-gene and gene-environment interactions,
and the gene expression patterns associated with many chronic diseases.
The utility of this information cannot be underestimated. Genomics and
related areas of research have contributed greatly to efforts to under-
stand the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying diet-disease
relationships.
Integration and application of genetic and genomics technology into
nutrition research is, therefore, needed to develop nutrition research
programs that are aimed at the prevention and control of chronic dis-
ease through genomics-based nutritional interventions. Of interest is the
integration of relevant computational methods into nutritional genomics
research; the enhancement of tools applicable to systems biology; and the
effective dissemination of genomics-derived information to scientists,
policy makers, and the interested public. In short, new knowledge, pro-
duced from the interface of genetics, genomics, and nutrition science, is
key to further developing research to characterize genetic susceptibility to
diet-related chronic diseases and molecular responses to dietary factors.
To address these issues, a workshop was held on June 1 and 2, 2006,
at the National Academy of Sciences. The workshop included a keynote
presentation to provide policy context and challenges, and presentations
that were structured around three focus sessions: human genetic varia-
tion, epigenetics, and systems biology (see Chapters 1 to 3, respectively).
A fourth session (Chapter 4) presented discussions on the implications of
nutrigenomics for the future of nutrition science research. The workshop
agenda is contained in Appendix A, and Appendix B lists the names and
affiliations of the workshop presenters.
Numerous themes emerged from the workshop presentations. First,
nutrigenomics is a complex field because it addresses issues related to
multigenetic traits that can be modified by a number of nutritional and
other environmental factors. For example, more than 25,000 bioactive food
components have been identified, although their modes of interaction and
duration of activity are among many questions about these compounds
that are still unanswered. Such complexity presents a challenge to the
field; and the ensuing research opportunities will require cooperative
work among scientific disciplines and across government, academic, and
industrial centers, as well as adequate funding, to be realized.
Additionally, the ability to stretch the limits of conventional research
methodologies afforded by new genetic and genomic applications at the
level of the individual opens the door to a wealth of potential benefits
to areas such as disease prevention and wellness, bearing in mind the
necessity of ethical safeguards. This potential, however, must be wisely
exploited to avoid the pitfalls of overpromising research results and pre-
maturely setting unrealistic expectations for beneficial outcomes. Finally,
careful and rigorous research must be employed to optimize outcomes
and assure acceptance by the scientific community. In summary, nutrition
science is uniquely poised to serve as the crossroads for many disciplines
and, using genomics tools, can bring this knowledge together to bet-
ter understand and address diet-related chronic diseases and molecular
responses to dietary factors.



Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Genomics -- Congresses,
Nutrition -- Genetic aspects -- Congresses,
Nutrition policy -- Congresses,
Nutrition Physiology -- genetics -- congresses
Nutrition Processes -- genetics -- congresses
Genomics -- congresses
Variation (Genetics) -- congresses
Chronic Disease -- congresses