Research - Research Cores - Micronutrients And Genomics

Micronutrient - Genomics Interaction Research Core (MGIRC)

Co-Director: Fernando Viteri, MD, ScD
Co-Director: Janet King, PhD

Over the past 20 years, scientists have shown that nutrients and other food components alter the milieu in which biochemical mechanisms operate and influence the relationship between genetics and health. This discovery creates an opportunity for nutritional scientists to enter into a new era of research, i.e. to integrate the functional (metabolic and behavioral) characteristics of the organism with its nutritional and genetic environments. 

The focus of the Micronutrient-Genomic Interactions Research Core is to achieve that integration by combining basic molecular approaches and clinical investigations. A potential outcome of this research is a better understanding of the role of dietary micronutrients in human disease.

Current dietary guidelines focus primarily on macronutrient intake and do not consider genetic diversity among individuals. Yet, it is known that genetics has a strong influence on both an individual's susceptibility to disease and that individual's response to diet components. Studying the interaction between micronutrients and genetics will facilitate individualized dietary interventions that are based on the genetic make-up of individuals or population subgroups. This strategy should maximize the benefit of dietary change on health outcomes and minimize the risk of harm associated with giving the same dietary and/or supplement recommendations to genetically diverse populations.