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Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Feb;83(2):443S-446S.

Genetic interactions with diet influence the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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Tufts University Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, the Gerald J and Dorothy R Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Boston, MA 02111-1524, USA.


Single-nucleotide polymorphisms are an integral component of the evolutionary process that over millennia have resulted from the interaction between the environment and the human genome. Relatively recent changes in diet have upset this interaction with respect to the nutritional environment, but nutritional science is beginning to better understand the interaction between genes and diet, with the resulting potential to influence cardiovascular disease risk by dietary modification. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms in several genes have been linked to differential effects in terms of lipid metabolism; however, even a simple model of benefit and risk is difficult to interpret in terms of dietary advice to carriers of the various alleles because of conflicting interactions between different genes. The n-3 family of polyunsaturated fatty acids is underrepresented in our modern diet; much of the benefit of polyunsaturated fatty acids found in studies of various polymorphisms seems to be linked to increased n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake. The nascent science of nutrigenomics faces many challenges; more and better research is needed to clarify the picture, rebut scepticism, and re-invigorate the discussion concerning genetic polymorphism and its interaction with diet.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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