109037.fig.005
Figure 5: The dietary signature. The biologically inherited DNA genome accumulates DNA sequence variations over generations. Epigenetic profiles determine which parts of it are to be transcribed. Once transcribed to RNA, it matures into different mature RNA outcomes depending on the post-transcriptional regulators. Among the effects of the environment on DNA sequence variations, epigenetic profiles, and post-transcriptional regulators, the effect of diet is studied in nutrigenomics. After translation, and under the impact of dietary status surrounding the primarily translated proteome, the final set of functional proteins, activated pathways, and subsequent metabolites constitutes the functional Gene Product. The gene product is only potentially functional towards a certain phenotypic outcome. The downstream end result of health status depends greatly on what nutrients are fed into the systemic machine of gene products. The functional gene product is the end-point in nutrigenomics and the starting point in nutrigenetics. It is a marker of the phenotypic outcome: expression of disease and prognosis. Phenotype may dictate the lifestyle choices available to a certain individual, including taste preferences, which are also delineated by culturally inherited customs and habits. In their turn, lifestyle choices including dietary habits determine environmental exposures. Furthermore, civilization diseases have been hidden for a long period of time due to the sociocultural inheritance of adequately evolved matching lifestyle preferences and diet choices that have been masking a biologically inherited limited gene pool. The genes being in status quo, in presence of a nutritional transition, the rates of civilization diseases are on the rise because of the loss of the protective adequacy of the diet. This highlights the presence of hidden genes, the phenotypic expression of which can be masked by a specific nutritional state, such as that corresponding to the Mediterranean diet, as more increasingly being recommended recently in the literature. However this cannot be answered if sequence variations and specific SNPs affecting nutritional needs are not tested for in the specific populations.