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FOODVISION 2017

FOODVISION: DNA testing just ‘one part of the jigsaw’

By Will Chu , 13-Mar-2017
Last updated on 13-Mar-2017 at 09:26 GMT2017-03-13T09:26:27Z

Are there opportunities for the food industry to use genetic population information to target product development, marketing and dietary advice? ©iStock

Are there opportunities for the food industry to use genetic population information to target product development, marketing and dietary advice? ©iStock

Advances in DNA testing mean deeper insights can be made into how people use food for fuel, or how fast a nutrient is metabolised.

But as one speaker pointed out genes aren’t the whole picture, and don’t work alone and they don’t determine everything about an individual.

Ex-Olympian and now head of product development at DNAFit, Andrew Steele was on hand at FoodVision to explain how these insights could contribute to future health, dietary and nutritional advice.

“DNA testing is only one part of the jigsaw. I don’t think there needs to be any sort of rivalry between different kinds of testing,” he added.

“The gold standard that we should be aiming for is to take into account as many of the possible markers as we can such as the static genetic part, the reactive and more variable part,  like our blood biomarkers, anthropometric data as well as the microbiome.”

Steele’s presentation entitled: ‘How to fail at sport, life and the food business: Why genetics matter and how it could change your company,’ discussed the age-old issue of nature vs nurture.

One talking point centred on educating people on making the right exercise and nutrition choices in order to create the best possible ‘phenotype’ for a certain lifestyle.

“We don’t plot nature against nurture, we don’t choose one or the other, it’s rather this unique interaction between how we’re born and what we do,” he explained.

“If you don’t know the static part, then you can’t make the best educated decisions about the variable parts and that’s all we do, to try to help tweak the environment with more information including the static, genetic data.”

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