Data Infrastructure Initiatives and Nutrigenomics Tools
The Nutrition Researcher Cohort (NRC) is a global cohort of researchers in nutrition and health sciences who gather self-assessment data on their lifestyle and their health. NRC gives access to reliable information on personal health trajectories, and the effects of diet on personal health. Taken together, these data will provide a powerful and valuable open access resource that allows the discovery and publication of new and important relationships between diet, lifestyle and health. Please visit the new NRC website [http://nrc.dbnp.org/] to find out more!
Nutritional Phenotype Project
The Nutritional Phenotype project is a workbench environment to perform nutritional studies where extensive phenotyping is important. It provides guidelines and procedures for all relevant stages of these studies, storage of biologically relevant, pre-processed –omics data, as well as study descriptive and phenotype data and to enable the combination of this information at different levels (e.g. link phenotype, genotype, food intake, information on study design and -omics measurements and to combine all of this with existing knowledge). The nutritional phenotype database is extensively described in a publication in Genes & Nutrition 2010 [http://www.springerlink.com/openurl.asp?genre=article&id=doi:10.1007/s12263-010-0167-9].
The dbNP is an evolving enterprise which is only sustainable if it is accepted and adopted by the wide nutrition and health research community as an open source, pre-competitive and publicly available resource where many partners both can contribute and profit from its developments. The open source programming environment is located at www.dbnp.org. Technical discussions and feature information can be found on [https://wiki.nbic.nl/index.php/DbNPFeatures]
Bioethical Guidelines and Tool
The European Nutrigenomics Organisation has published a set of bioethics guidelines designed to help scientistsundertaking nutrigenomics research in humans. Click here to access the NuGO Online Bioethical Tool [http://nugo.dife.de/bot/].
Nutrigenomics is the study of how nutrients and genes interact and how genetic variations can cause people to respond differently to food nutrients. Emerging in 2000 as a new field of research, scientists predict that nutrigenomics could one day bring about big changes in how food is grown, processed and consumed. It could also lead to personalised diets tailored on the genetic make-up of an individual. In these ways, the discipline holds the promise of improving health conditions and preventing diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. At the same time, nutrigenomics also raises many ethical questions about the privacy aspects of personalised foods and diets, genetic testing and the potential high cost of new functional foods.
In response to these ethical concerns, NuGO has produced bioethics guidelines. These cover topics under the headings of informed consent, genotype information (covering criteria for disclosure of genotype results to participants), biobanks, and use and exchange of data samples. They are accompanied by references to relevant
official and legal documents from the EU and individual European countries. Also included are a list of definitions, a set of template documents chosen as examples of good practice for processes such as seeking informed consent, and a list of available bioethics training courses within Europe.
The guidelines are based on principles for which there is a general consensus within the EU, and conform to the legal standards set out in various EU Directives. However, the authors point out that the guidelines are not a legal document and that the ethical approval for nutrigenomics research will depend on the legal standards found in individual Member States. Nevertheless, the NuGO guidelines could be used as a starting point for researchers and parties interested in the ethical principles involved in population-based genomics research. NuGO also encourages users to add examples and comments from their own experience in order to inform the further development of the guidelines.