Rights: The University of Waikato Published 1 May 2006 Download

Because we all have different genes, the 'optimum diet' for each person is different. Some of the researchers involved in Nutrigenomics New Zealand explain this in more detail.


Dr Julian Heyes (Plant & Food Research)

It’s turning out that even the food that we should be eating for our optimal health will differ from person to person, and equally there will be some genetic disorders to which we are prey and which our food will be able to help with, and that would be different for you from me.

Professor Lynn Ferguson (Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland)

Nutritional epidemiology are studies that have been done before, they have been done in NZ, which is really just studying the relationship between diet and disease. Nutrigenomics brings another dimension into this and recognises that it’s not just diet leading straight to disease. The impact depends very much on what the genetics is.

Dr William Laing (Plant & Food Research)

What we are trying to do is make it personal, personalise the study of food and how people respond.

Dr Martin Philpott Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland)

So instead of it being population based, you would look at an individual - their genetic make-up and how the food influences that. Or you may be looking at a single gene that might be prsent in only maybe 1% of the population but is responsible for a particular disease. You might be looking at ways that food can overcome that disease.

Dr Andrew Shelling Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland)

We’ve seen over the last few years, in the last few months even, a lot of this type of targeted research, where rather than just looking at people as a whole, we are now focusing more on individuals and what their genotype is, and what types of treatments and drugs might be more suitable for an individual rather than a group as a whole.

Dr Julian Heyes (Plant & Food Research)

I am very excited about this type of research collaboration focusing on blending sophisticated knowledge about food, which is perhaps more of my personal background, with some of the impact of that food on human health.

Dr Warren McNabb (AgResearch)

Nutrigenomics is probably the first time that we have brought together the idea of diet, our genotype and health into one package.

Dr Nicole Roy (AgResearch)

The aim is to get better wellbeing, health and performance as well.