Nutrition And Omics

Dr Punit Chandra, Principal Scientist, CIAE, Bhopal

2014-05-14 02:13:47

Nutrition and Omics

Nutrition and Omics

Nutrition and Omics

Omics aims at the collective characterization and quantification of pools of biological molecules that translate into the structure, function, and dynamics of an organism or organisms.

“Omics” comprises of mapping the information of objects e.g. gene, protein or ligands, interaction relationship among objects and networking among objects to understand and manipulate the regulatory mechanisms.

Nowadays efforts are being for personalized nutrition. The personalized nutrition simply means that providing nutrition to individual based on its genetic information. Omics can play an important role in personalized nutrition.

The nutritional requirements can be decided by two ways.

i.              What nutrients can be recommended for a person based on his genetic information?

ii.            What nutrients can be avoided for a person based on his genetic information?

Now, it is well established fact that each individual varies in its genetic composition and therefore nutrients will interact in a different manner to each individual. This means that individuals will respond differently to various food components. The same food may have better response in one person than other.  Similarly, genes responsible for various diseases have also been identified. If the genes responsible for diabetes is present in one’s genome than the person is prone to diabetes. One way to avoid occurrence of diabetes is to manage the diet plan in such a way that the genes responsible for diabetes are not expressed. It will help us in monitoring one’s life style. 

Now, it has been realized that simple nutritional studies will not be of much use as far as health and disease treatment is concerned. New fields of nutritional research have emerged out that make use of state-of-the-art of omics technologies like genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and systems biology and has  provided new approaches and techniques to elucidate how nutrients modulate gene expression, protein synthesis, and metabolism .

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food said by Greek physician Hippocrates and saying by Thomas Edison that “The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition” now holds true. It has become apparent that nutrients not only fuel our life but also participate in gene regulation. Few areas where nutritional research are getting more attention in addressing complex issues related to human health, disease, and nutrition are Pharmacogenetics that refers to genetic differences in metabolic pathways which can affect individual responses  in terms of therapeutic effect as well as adverse effects, Nutrigenomics that refers to the study of the impact of specific nutrients or diets on gene expression and Nutrigenetics that investigates how genetic variability influences the body’s response to a nutrient or diet. Thus, nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics approach the interplay of diet and genes from opposing start points

Many nutrients and non-nutrient components of foods have multiple functions. Apart from functioning as nutrients they also participate in various cell specific and tissue specific biochemical reactions for the normal growth and function of body that involves  hundreds of genes, many signal transduction pathways, and a large number of bio-molecules. Hence simply by identifying single gene, single protein, or single metabolite do not provide us with sufficient and thorough information to elucidate mechanisms that underlie the beneficial or adverse effects induced in the human body by the uptake of dietary nutrients or components. Omics technologies may be potential tools to address these complex issues related to human health and nutrition.

Transcriptomics measures the relative amounts of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) in a given organism for determining patterns and levels of gene expression. DNA microarray technology allows for measuring the expression level of thousands of genes, or even entire genomes, simultaneously. DNA microarray technology performed in cell culture systems or laboratory animals to identifies the cellular responses to dietary constituents and their molecular targets. Proteomics is the study of proteins expressed in a cell, tissue, or organism, including all protein isoforms and posttranslational modifications. Proteomics analysis in humans was involved in identifying the molecular target of dietary components in human subjects. For an example, identification of molecular targets of quercetin in human colon cancer cells, identification of cellular target proteins of genistein action in human endothelial cells, identifying new potential soybean allergens from transgenic and non-transgenic soy samples, to characterize wheat flour allergens and so on. The main goal of omics-based nutrition research is to understand the relationships between diet and disease and the relationships between diet and health, and finally to make recommendation for personalized nutrition or individualized diet.