Leading Australian and NZ researchers join to study genetics and diet
Leading Australian and New Zealand children’s health research institutes are joining forces to better understand how nutrition interacts with a genetic makeup to shape health and wellbeing.
The collaboration between the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) and the Liggins Institute, named ‘The GENO Project’, will aim to find new treatments for diet-related health issues.
The project has been given $1.5 million in funding from the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment’s Catalyst Project fund.
Professor Kathryn North from MCRI said the partnership will help MCRI’s large CheckPoint study.
“This exciting partnership will bring a wealth of new expertise to one of MCRI’s largest longitudinal studies, our landmark CheckPoint study to improve our understanding of how what we eat as children and adults interacts with other environmental factors and our genetic make-up to determine our nutritional health and its outcomes, including obesity,” she said.
The collaboration will also provide the Liggins Institute with access to data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), which has followed 10,000 children since 2004.
Specific research projects the two organisations now plan to conduct include:
- Developing methods to predict how each individual’s DNA sequence contributes to their health and wellbeing and better predict obesity risk and the outcome of targeted interventions
- An investigation of the critical role of micronutrients (vitamins, essential fatty and amino acids, and minerals) in metabolic health
- New research unlocks genetic links of sweet tooth and fatty food cravings
- Genetic variation in breastfeeding mothers could have lasting impact on child’s gut health