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Annu Rev Nutr. 2006;26:413-34.

Genetics of food intake and eating behavior phenotypes in humans.

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  • 1Human Genomics Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808-4124, USA.


This review summarizes the research advances of the past decade regarding the role of human genetic differences in energy and nutrient intake as well as in eating behavior phenotypes and selected eating disorders. The evidence for familial aggregation and heritability based on twin and nuclear family study designs is summarized. Genome-wide linkage scans and quantitative trait loci identified to date are discussed. DNA sequence variants in candidate genes are reviewed. Single genes associated with classical eating disorders are also incorporated. Epigenetic events will need to be incorporated in future studies designed to investigate the effects of DNA variants on dietary phenotypes. Understanding the relative contribution of global genetic variation and of DNA sequence variants in specific genes is important in the effort to influence dietary habits in a healthier direction.

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