Send to

Choose Destination
Curr Nutr Rep. 2014 Jun;3(2):139-148.

Genetic Variants in the FADS Gene: Implications for Dietary Recommendations for Fatty Acid Intake.

Author information

Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.
The Center for Botanical Lipids and Inflammatory Disease Prevention, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem NC, 27157, USA ; Department of Physiology/Pharmacology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem NC 27157, USA ; Molecular Medicine and Translational Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem NC 27157, USA.


Unequivocally, genetic variants within the fatty acid desaturase (FADS) cluster are determinants of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC-PUFA) levels in circulation, cells and tissues. A recent series of papers have addressed these associations in the context of ancestry; evidence clearly supports that the associations are robust to ethnicity. However ∼80% of African Americans carry two copies of the alleles associated with increased levels of arachidonic acid, compared to only ∼45% of European Americans raising important questions of whether gene-PUFA interactions induced by a modern western diet are differentially driving the risk of diseases of inflammation in diverse populations, and are these interactions leading to health disparities. We highlight an important aspect thus far missing in the debate regarding dietary recommendations; we content that current evidence from genetics strongly suggest that an individual's, or at the very least the population from which an individual is sampled, genetic architecture must be factored into dietary recommendations currently in place.


arachidonic acid; cardiovascular disease; eicosanoids; fatty acid desaturase (FADS); genetic variants; inflammation; nutrition; polyunsaturated fatty acids; single nucleotide polymorphisms

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center