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Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 109037, 19 pages
Review Article

Diet, Genetics, and Disease: A Focus on the Middle East and North Africa Region

1Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, MA 02115, USA
2Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, American University of Beirut, Beirut 1107 2020, Lebanon

Received 31 August 2011; Accepted 27 November 2011

Academic Editor: Hamed R. Takruri

Copyright © 2012 Akl C. Fahed et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region suffers a drastic change from a traditional diet to an industrialized diet. This has led to an unparalleled increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases. This review discusses the role of nutritional genomics, or the dietary signature, in these dietary and disease changes in the MENA. The diet-genetics-disease relation is discussed in detail. Selected disease categories in the MENA are discussed starting with a review of their epidemiology in the different MENA countries, followed by an examination of the known genetic factors that have been reported in the disease discussed, whether inside or outside the MENA. Several diet-genetics-disease relationships in the MENA may be contributing to the increased prevalence of civilization disorders of metabolism and micronutrient deficiencies. Future research in the field of nutritional genomics in the MENA is needed to better define these relationships.