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New genes involved in food preferences will revolutionise diets and improve health

New understanding of the genes involved in taste perception and food preferences could lead to personalised nutrition plans effective not just in weight loss but in avoiding diseases.

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New understanding of the genes involved in taste perception and food preferences could lead to personalised nutrition plans effective not just in weight loss but in avoiding diseases such as cancer, depression, and hypertension, according to research presented at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics. Knowing why individuals prefer certain food tastes and being able to personalise health interventions based on them will help people age in a healthier way and greatly improve their quality of life, as well as engender considerable savings for health systems, they say.

Dr Nicola Pirastu and Dr Antonietta Robino, from the University of Trieste and the IRCCS Burlo Garofolo Institute for Maternal and Child Health, Trieste, Italy, set out to identify novel genes and pathways involved in taste perception and food preferences, and to investigate their implications in protecting against or predisposing to diet-related disorders such as overweight, obesity, and diabetes. "To date most studies have focused on specific taste receptors, especially bitter ones, and this has been partly successful in an attempt to understand the genetics behind the perception of specific compounds such as caffeine and quinine," says Dr Robino. "Our work has expanded these studies to the whole genome, with the goal of clarifying which specific genes drive individual...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.