Genomics in personalized nutrition: Can you “eat for your genes”?

Veronica A. Mullins, William Bresette, Laurel Johnstone, Brian Hallmark, Floyd H. Chilton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data are now quickly and inexpensively acquired, raising the prospect of creating personalized dietary recommendations based on an individual’s genetic variability at multiple SNPs. However, relatively little is known about most specific gene–diet interactions, and many molecular and clinical phenotypes of interest (e.g., body mass index [BMI]) involve multiple genes. In this review, we discuss direct to consumer genetic testing (DTC-GT) and the current potential for precision nutrition based on an individual’s genetic data. We review important issues such as dietary exposure and genetic architecture addressing the concepts of penetrance, pleiotropy, epistasis, polygenicity, and epigenetics. More specifically, we discuss how they complicate using genotypic data to predict phenotypes as well as response to dietary interventions. Then, several examples (including caffeine sensitivity, alcohol dependence, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, obesity/appetite, cardiovascular, Alzheimer’s disease, folate metabolism, long-chain fatty acid biosynthesis, and vitamin D metabolism) are provided illustrating how genotypic information could be used to inform nutritional recommendations. We conclude by examining ethical considerations and practical applications for using genetic information to inform dietary choices and the future role genetics may play in adopting changes beyond population-wide healthy eating guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3118
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Diet
  • Genetics
  • Nutrients
  • Nutrigenetics
  • Nutrigenomics
  • Personalized
  • Precision nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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