Genomics and milk

J. Bruce German

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Genomics, proteomics and metabolomics are providing the tools to assess human health, but what knowledge resource can guide scientific research to improve it? The Darwinian selective pressure on lactation to promote the competitive success of offspring drove the emergence of nutritional strategies that go beyond the simple provision of essential nutrients. Identifying the molecules, mechanisms and health benefits encrypted in milk is the goal of milk genomics. Variations in gene expression during lactation reveal principles of lactation and some surprises. There is apparently no lactation switch, most milk-specific genes are induced gradually during pregnancy. The genes down regulated during lactation are also intriguing, ubiquitination is turned off. Milk provides remarkable insights into health promotion. Oligosaccharides in human milk selectively support the growth of Bifidobacteria longum subspecies infantis. Its genome is revealing evidence of the co-evolution of milk and commensal bacteria and new genes with potential benefits to human health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-101
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Journal of Dairy Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Food Science


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