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Genes Nutr. 2008 Dec;3(3-4):101-6. doi: 10.1007/s12263-008-0089-y. Epub 2008 Oct 1.

The challenges for molecular nutrition research 3: comparative nutrigenomics research as a basis for entering the systems level.

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  • 1Molecular Nutrition Unit, Nutrition and Food Research Center, Technische Universität München, Freising, Germany,


Human nutrition and metabolism may serve as the paradigm for the complex interplay of the genome with its environment. The concept of nutrigenomics now enables science with new tools and comprehensive analytical techniques to investigate this interaction at all levels of the complexity of the organism. Moreover, nutrigenomics seeks to better define the homeostatic control mechanisms, identify the de-regulation in the early phases of diet-related diseases, and attempts to assess to what extent an individual's sensitizing genotype contributes to the overall health or disease state. In a comparative approach nutrigenomics uses biological systems of increasing complexity from yeast to mammalian models to define the general rules of metabolic and genetic mechanisms in adaptations to the nutritional environment. Powerful information technology, bioinformatics and knowledge management tools as well as new mathematical and computational approaches now make it possible to study these molecular mechanisms at the cellular, organ and whole organism level and take it on to modeling the processes in a "systems biology" approach. This review summarizes some of the concepts of a comparative approach to nutrigenomics research, identifies current lacks and proposes a concerted scientific effort to create the basis for nutritional systems biology.

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