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Personalizing Nutritional Requirements Based on Your Genome?

 

Narrator: This is Science Today. Do we all have the same nutritional requirements for vitamins and minerals? That’s a question that Jasper Rine, a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley is trying to answer.

Rine: The amount that we think that we need was actually established in the 1940s and has gone almost unchanged in 65 years. It turns out that some genes have defects in them that make enzymes that are not quite up to snuff, that are not working optimally. Yet, can be tuned up by adding more of the vitamin that that enzyme ordinarily needs to do its job.

Narrator: Rine says since the human genome has been sequenced, it’s only a matter of time before the cost of sequencing a single human genome will become very accessible – so, he’s working towards a future of “personalizing” nutritional requirements.

Rine: So, for those people who choose to get a genome sequence – we’ll help them interpret a subset of the genetic variance that they’ll discover in their genome in a way that they can say, “ah, it looks like on average I may need more vitamin B6 than the next person does.”

Narrator: For Science Today, I’m Larissa Branin.