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Applications of Nutrigenomics in Animal Science1

Applications of Nutrigenomics in Animal Science1

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Published by Ramachandran Ram

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Published by: Ramachandran Ram on Dec 12, 2011
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10/03/2014

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APPLICATIONS OF NUTRIGENOMICS IN ANIMAL SCIENCEINTRODUCTION
 Nutrigenomics applies genomic technologies to study how nutrients affect expression of genes. Withthe advent of the post genomic era and with the use of functional genomic tools, the new strategies for evaluating the effects of nutrition on production efficiency and nutrient utilization are becoming available. Nutrigenomics plays an efficient role in various fields of animal health like nutrition, production, reproduction,disease process etc. Nutrigenomic approaches will enhance researchers abilities to maintain animal health,
 optimize animal performance and improve milk and meat quality.In recent years, nutritional research has moved from classical epidemiology and physiology tomolecular biology and genetics. Following this trend, nutrigenomics has emerged as a novel andmultidisciplinary research field in nutritional science that aims to elucidate how diet can influence animalhealth (Canas
et al 
, 2009)5. Genomics is the study of the functions and interactions of all genes in the genome;“nutrigenomics” applies genomic technologies to study how nutrients affect expression of genes. The study of how genes and gene products interact with dietary chemicals to alter phenotype and, conversely, how genesand their products metabolize nutrients is called
nutritional genomics or “Nutrigenomics”
(Kaput
et al 
,2005). Nutrigenomic studies will be very useful for elucidating the roles of food components in obesity(Chadwick, 2004) in coronary heart diseases (Talmud, 2004) and cancer prevention (Davis and Hord, 2004).Over the last decade, advances in the biochemical technologies available for examining functionalgenomics have provided a number of new molecular tools for evaluating responses to nutritional strategies.These tools are largely based on an understanding of the expression and control of specific genes and gene products and have led to the development of the sciences associated with Nutrigenomics (Swanson
et al 
.,2003). From the research perspective, to explore the effect of dietary components on the genome, the crucialstages of nutrigenomics are transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics. Application of these modern
 
research tools, known as “omics” technologies, should yield new knowledge on the course of molecular  processes in animal organisms and a more precise evaluation of the biological properties of feeds.A number of molecular tools are used to evaluate the effects of dietary strategies on gene expression andthe flow of information from the genetic code (DNA) to biological functions and structure. These include
1)
Transcriptomic tools t
hat quantitatively evaluate the formation of m-RNA (gene expression),
2)
Proteomic tools
which
 
measure the formation of specific proteins (protein expression)
3)
Metabolomic tools
it can measure the products from the resulting metabolic activities (metabolic profiling).The most powerful molecular tools for examining nutrient effects at the most basic level comes from high-throughput microarrays (gene chips), that allow for the examination of the expression of thousand genes at atime. These arrays have allowed investigators to directly examine the effects of nutrient supplies in great detailand at the most rudimentary level of gene transcription (gene expression). These techniques not only allow for an understanding of the effects of nutrition on individual genes, but also for the examination and comparison of gene expression profiles (gene interactions).
How does diet affects our gene expression?
Virtually every day, researchers identify new genes that contribute to health and disease. Conditionslike breast cancer (109 genes) and asthma (27 genes) and diabetes (114 genes) highlight how broad thesegenetic factors will become. At the same time, the new biotechnology methods are pinpointing how molecular nutrients shape genomic activity. For examples, Vitamin A changes activity in over 500 genes; calcium in over 145, zinc over 60. Cholesterol, which is made by the body, influences over 30 genes, which shows thatmolecular nutrients which might regulate cholesterol production are likely, in turn, to have important secondorder effects.
(
Daniel et al ,2005).
 
 
The four basic tenets of Nutrigenomics are:
i. Improper diets are risk factors for disease.ii. Dietary chemicals alter gene expression and/or change genome structureiii. The degree to which diet influences the balance between healthy and disease states may depend on anindividual’s genetic makeup.iv. Some diet-regulated genes (and their normal, common variants) are likely to play a role in the onset,incidence, progression, and/or severity of chronic diseases. Genes express themselves through proteins.Enzymes are special proteins designed to get things started. Our genome instructs ribosomes to producemany enzymes that destroy toxins. Some foods such as cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprout containchemicals that actually tell our genes to direct biosynthesis of these enzymes. In some individuals, genes giveunclear instructions for making an enzyme that metabolizes the amino acid, phenylalanine. As a result, thisamino acid builds up, thereby causing brain damage. A diet restricting this amino acid will stop the damage if detected in early infancy. Transfer of nutrients from gut to cells requires carrier and receptor proteins. Someindividuals have genes that direct overproduction of iron carrying proteins. The resulting iron overload isextremely toxic and may lead to death. One gene that have received considerable attention and around whichthere has been a great deal of research is the gene for the enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase(MTHFR). Its relation to cardiovascular disease is confirmed. Currently, several nutrition related issues benefitfrom genetic research. A number of conditions like phenylketonuria, caffeine intake and bone loss in postmenopausal women, folic acid and heart disease, obesity, anorexia nervosa, vitamin C supplementation toreduce cancer risk and low fat diet for high blood cholesterol levels, show the influence of genetic variation onnutrition advice. The majority of practical applications of Nutrigenomics are just beginning to emerge. Thetrend appears to be that certain individuals with particular variations in their genes will have increased need of specific nutrients in their diet which will result in changes in translation of information in their genes.

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