Researchers Identify Genes That Directly Influence What We Eat; New Insights Into Genetic Basis for Food Preferences Could Help Improve Personalized Nutrition

In one of the first large-scale studies of genes related to diet, researchers have uncovered almost 500 genes that appear to directly influence the foods we eat. The findings represent an important step toward using a person’s genetics to develop precision nutrition strategies that help improve health or prevent disease. “Some genes we identified are related to sensory pathways--including those for taste, smell, and texture--and may also increase the reward response in the brain,” said research team leader Joanne Cole, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “Because some of these genes may have clear paths toward influencing whether someone likes a food or not, they could potentially be used to create sensory genetic profiles for fine-tuning a person’s dietary recommendations based on foods they like to eat.”

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