Genes and Nutrition

Each of us is metabolically unique. Gene variations known as SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) often are a factor in an individual’s ability to metabolize or use nutrients efficiently. Each of our specific nutrient needs is affected by which specific combination of SNPs we have, but with thousands known to impact nutrition metabolism, how do we know what those needs are?

NRI researchers are working to create a “catalog” of SNPs that alter our nutritional needs by understanding how genetic and other complex biological information can be used to better estimate individual nutrition requirements and intolerances. Our scientists use bioinformatics to extract such information from population and intervention studies, develop rules for predicting individual needs, and bring precision nutrition to health care providers and consumers with digital tools.



Genes and Nutrition Publications


Genetic variants affecting bone mineral density and bone mineral content at multiple skeletal sites in Hispanic children.  Voruganti VS

Precision (Personalized) Nutrition: Understanding Metabolic Heterogeneity.  Zeisel S


DNA methylation in mice is influenced by genetics as well as sex and life experience.  French J

Cytosolic 10-formyltetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase regulates glycine metabolism in mouse liver.  Krupenko S

Deleterious mutations in ALDH1L2 suggest a novel cause for neuro-ichthyotic syndrome.  Krupenko S

Fine mapping and identification of serum urate loci in American Indians: The Strong Heart Family Study.  Voruganti VS

Heterogeneity in Metabolic Responses to Dietary Fructose.  Voruganti VS

Genetic analysis of hsCRP in American Indians: The Strong Heart Family Study.  Voruganti VS

A trans-ancestral meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies reveals loci associated with childhood obesity.  Voruganti VS

Healthy dietary patterns and risk and survival of breast cancer: a meta-analysis of cohort studies.  Voruganti VS

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Genome-Wide Interaction Analyses Reveal DPP10-Pulmonary Function Association.  Voruganti VS

Betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase deficiency causes increased susceptibility to noise-induced hearing loss associated with plasma hyperhomocysteinemia.  Zeisel S

MicroRNA-129-5p is regulated by choline availability and controls EGF receptor synthesis and neurogenesis in the cerebral cortex.  Zeisel S


Introduction to mammalian genome special issue: the combined role of genetics and environment relevant to human disease outcomes.  French J

C16-ceramide is a natural regulatory ligand of p53 in cellular stress response.  Krupenko N

Metabolic Phenotype of Wild-Type and As3mt-Knockout C57BL/6J Mice Exposed to Inorganic Arsenic: The Role of Dietary Fat and Folate Intake.  Krupenko S

Nutritional Genomics of Cardiovascular Disease.  Voruganti VS

Genetic determinants of BMI from early childhood to adolescence: the Santiago Longitudinal Study.  Voruganti VS

Genetic Variants Related to Cardiometabolic Traits Are Associated to B Cell Function, Insulin Resistance, and Diabetes Among AmeriCan Indians: The Strong Heart Family Study.  Voruganti VS

Meta-analysis across Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium provides evidence for an association of serum vitamin D with pulmonary function.  Voruganti VS

Serum Lipid Concentrations and FADS Genetic Variants in Young Mexican College Students: The UP-AMIGOS Cohort Study.  Voruganti VS

Arsenic-gene interactions and beta-cell function in the Strong Heart Family Study.  Voruganti VS

Dietary Modulation of the Epigenome.  Zeisel S


NTP Research Report on Absence of Formaldehyde-Induced Neoplasia in Trp53 Haploinsufficient Mice Exposed by Inhalation: Research Report 3 [Internet].  French J

QTL Mapping and Identification of Candidate Genes in DO Mice: A Use Case Model Derived from a Benzene Toxicity Experiment.  French J

Heterogeneity of p53 dependent genomic responses following ethanol exposure in a developmental mouse model of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.  Mooney S

Exome sequencing reveals novel genetic loci influencing obesity-related traits in Hispanic children.  Voruganti VS

Genetic variation underlying renal uric acid excretion in Hispanic children: the Viva La Familia Study.  Voruganti VS

Reduced brain volume and impaired memory in betaine homocysteine S-methyltransferase knockout mice.  Zeisel S

Betaine is accumulated via transient choline dehydrogenase activation during mouse oocyte meiotic maturation.  Zeisel S

Deletion of one allele of Mthfd1 (methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase 1) impairs learning in mice.  Zeisel S

Choline, Other Methyl-Donors and Epigenetics.  Zeisel S

Choline and its metabolites are differently associated with cardiometabolic risk factors, history of cardiovascular disease, and MRI-documented cerebrovascular disease in older adults.  Zeisel S

Altered methylation of specific DNA loci in the liver of Bhmt-null mice results in repression of Iqgap2 and F2rl2 and is associated with development of preneoplastic foci.  Zeisel S


CerS6 Is a Novel Transcriptional Target of p53 Protein Activated by Non-genotoxic Stress.  Krupenko N

Genotype, B-vitamin status, and androgens affect spaceflight-induced ophthalmic changes.  Zeisel S

Related News

The DNA Diet: How knowing your genes can help you fit into your jeans

May 28, 2019 – Most people have this basic understanding of genetics: You inherit genes from your parents, and their DNA combines to create your unique genetic makeup. This can include more obvious traits such as eye color and height but also more complex traits that may involve multiple genes, such as risk of diseases including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer, as well as all aspects of metabolism.

Nutrition Is a Hard Science

November 20, 2018 – There have been a lot of questions about the reliability of nutritional science. We should respond with an assertive statement: Nutrition is a hard science. By just about any comparison, much of what is known about nutrition and the methods that have built that knowledge is as robust as classical physics, biochemistry and other basic sciences generally recognized as rigorous.

Offspring Brain Health Determined by Maternal Diet and Genes

December 12, 2018 – The importance of choline to brain development and function was first demonstrated in the 1980s, but because choline has multiple fates and functions within the body, the question of how choline levels specifically impacted neural development has remained unanswered. In research just published in The FASEB Journal, NRI director Steven Zeisel, MD PhD, and NRI assistant professor Natalia Surzenko, PhD, make a major contribution towards answering this question.

Your doctor may not be the best source of nutrition advice

This article was published originally by The Washington Post. By Rachel Cernansky When Americans hear about a health craze, they may turn to their physician for advice: Will that superfood really boost brain function? Is that supplement okay for me to take? Or they...

Kohlmeier Named Editor-in-Chief of New Journal: BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health

March 29, 2018 – Leading healthcare knowledge provider BMJ will launch BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health later this year in July 2018 at the 4th NNEdPro International Summit in Cambridge. Co-owned with the NNEdPro Global Centre for Nutrition and Health, the journal is dedicated to publishing high quality, peer reviewed articles that focus on diet, exercise and healthcare technology on health and wellbeing.