Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: December 26, 2007
Publication Date: May 1, 2008
Citation: Mattoo, A.K., Yachha, S.K., Fatima, T. 2008. Genetic manipulation of vegetable crops to alleviate diet-related diseases. In: Tomas-Barberan, F.A., Gil, M.I., editors. Improving the Health-Promoting Properties of Fruit and Vegetable Products. Cambridge, MA: CRC Press, Woodhead Publishing, Ltd. p. 326-345.
Interpretive Summary: Increasing recognition of the potential of high quality nutrients in fruits and vegetables for alleviating diet-related diseases has generated interest in using genetics and genetic engineering to enhance nutritional quality of produce. Nearly 97% of the genes associated with human disease are a result of a dysfunctional gene or multi-gene related disorders such as cancers and heart disease. Diseases also can be caused by ingestion of foods in which certain identified metabolites induce allergies and gastrointestinal disorders. This manuscript summarizes our current knowledge of diet-related diseases and the progress made in genetic enhancement of dietary nutrients in vegetables and fruits. It represents a single source of current information on these diverse disciplines in a concise manner, and will be equally useful to nutritionists, biologists, medical practitioners and agriculturists.
Modern science is making strides into our understanding of the interrelationships between diet and disease. Thus, functional genomics research that not only deciphers the functional roles of genes but also to understand how a particular diet or a component thereof influences a particular disease has empowered research using nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics. Nutrigenomics encompasses studies on cross talk between nutrients and metabolic pathways whereas nutrigenetics is devoted to studies on how the genetic makeup of an individual responds to a specific diet. It is anticipated that advances in understanding the interactions between lifestyle and genotype in contributing to health and disease will eventually reach the highly desirable goal of personalized nutrition. Nutritional molecules such as lycopene, flavonoids, vitamins C and E, isothyocyanates/glucosinolates, when consumed as part of a human diet have a great potential to prevent chronic diseases, including epithelial cancers, cardiovascular diseases, digestive disorders and immune deficiency. The beneficial effects of a nutritional diet seem registered via interactions of several antioxidant components present in food, although the nature of these interactions is still a matter of conjecture. Here, we bring together current information about studies focused on enhancing the nutritional content of vegetable crops using transgenic technology in engineering metabolic pathways. These studies demonstrate the power of genetic engineering approaches in accumulating nutrients beneficial for human health in transgenic crops whose consumption is hoped to prevent the related polygenic diseases such as cancers and cardiovascular disease.