Genetic and Genomic Advances in Developmental Models: Applications for Nutrition Research

Winyoo Chowanadisai, Matthew D. Hart, Morgan D. Strong, David M. Graham, Robert B. Rucker, Brenda J. Smith, Carl L. Keen, Mark A. Messerli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


There is increasing appreciation that dietary components influence and interact with genes important to metabolism. How such influences impact developmental regulation and programming or risks of chronic diseases remains unclear. Nutrition is recognized to affect development and chronic diseases, but our understanding about how genes essential to nutrient metabolism regulate development and impact risks of these diseases remains unclear. Historically, mammalian models, especially rodents such as rats and mice, have been the primary models used for nutrition and developmental nutrition science, although their complexity and relatively slow rate of development often compromise rapid progress in resolving fundamental, genetic-related questions. Accordingly, the objective of this review is to highlight the opportunities for developmental models in the context of uncovering the function of gene products that are relevant to human nutrition and provide the scientific bases for these opportunities. We present recent studies in zebrafish related to obesity as applications of developmental models in nutritional science. Although the control of external factors and dependent variables, such as nutrition, can be a challenge, suggestions for standardizations related to diet are made to improve consistency in findings between laboratories. The review also highlights the need for standardized diets across different developmental models, which could improve consistency in findings across laboratories. Alternative and developmental animal models have advantages and largely untapped potential for the advancement of nutrigenomics and nutritionally relevant research areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)971-978
Number of pages8
JournalAdvances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • comparative genomics
  • diet
  • genetics
  • mutation
  • nutrigenomics
  • obesity
  • polymorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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