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Info on changes to DNA to help design foods that fight diabetes, cancer

Thursday, 16 June, 2016, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Bengaluru
CSIR-CFTRI (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-Central Food Technological Research Institute) is now using the science of human epigenetics, which indicates chemical changes to the DNA, to design foods that would reduce ailments such as diabetes and cancer.

In this regard, the institute recently organised a day-long seminar under the aegis of department of biotechnology, New Delhi, where scientists deliberated on the role of diet in defining human epigenetics.

The key objective was to drive the development of designer foods that were created to suit specific individuals. It would enable prevent lifestyle disorders that are widely prevalent in the country today.

Currently the Mysuru-based food institute major is getting the much needed knowhow from other research institutes in the country for this new initiative.

At the workshop, Prof. Ram Rajasekharan, director, CSIR-CFTRI, said that the key objective of the research and congregation of food scientists was to collate the knowledge available and establish linkages between diet and epigenomic changes.

The main task is to develop foods to cater to specific disease conditions, and help people get personalised and healthy nutrition.

The scientists felt dietary factors may be among the many causes responsible for epigenomic changes. However, in India this area of research is still in early stages. The scientists also discussed  issues related to identification of epigenomic modifications in various lifestyle diseases.

The scientists are now looking to comprehend the epigenome, which is a multitude of chemical compounds that can tell the genome what to do.

According to research reports, scientists continue to investigate the connection between the genome and the chemical compounds that modify it. Specifically, they are studying the effects of modifications on gene function, protein production, and human health.

There is an understanding that epigenetic changes could be attributed to some people afflicted by lifestyle disorders like diabetes and cancer.

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