Genetic research and nutritional individuality

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Abstract

Recent genetic research builds on a base established over the last century by physicians and nutritional scientists, who introduced the concept of biochemical individuality and documented its significance for understanding a wide variety of problems in human health. Current comparative genomic investigations on a variety of organisms (Haemophilus influenzae, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster, Homo sapiens) have established the existence of numerous orthologs (proteins in different organisms that show significant sequence similarities over 80% of their lengths), suggesting significant conservation of structure and probably some of function as well. At the same time, molecular comparisons among individuals within our own species show the existence of abundant molecular variants, many of which have been shown to have functional significance in nutritional and related metabolic contexts. The combination of biochemical individuality and known functional utilities of allelic variants should converge to create a situation in which nutritional optima can be specified as part of comprehensive lifestyle prescriptions tailored to the needs of each person.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume131
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 14 2001

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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