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Nutrigenomics: new nutrition research center for cancer prevention

Posted Aug 20th 2006 4:11PM by Dalene Entenmann

Filed under: All Cancers, Research, Obesity, Nutrition

On August 15, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) held a dedication ceremony for the new USDA Agricultural Research Service's Western Human Nutrition Research Center (WHNRC) at the University of California-Davis.

One of six human nutrition research centers in the nation, the research center employs a team of 85 scientists, technicians and other specialists includes experts in nutrition, exercise physiology, chemistry, immunology and related disciplines.

"The scientists of WHNRC also conduct pioneering studies to discover how nutrients and nutrient-like compounds in foods and beverages can help prevent chronic diseases that are among the leading causes of death in America," said Gale A. Buchanan, USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. "That list includes heart disease, stroke and certain kinds of cancer." ARS is the chief scientific research agency of USDA.

According to ARS, part of the scientific research is focused on nutrigenomics. MedicineNet.com defines nutrigenomics as the study of how different foods may interact with specific genes to increase the risk of common chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Nutrigenomics seeks to provide a molecular understanding of how common chemicals in the diet affect health by altering the expression of genes and the structure of an individual's genome. The premise underlying nutrigenomics is that the influence of diet on health depends on an individual's genetic makeup.

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