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Study of more than 330,000 genomes indicates 34 genes potentially involved in vegetarianism

Date: 9.10.2023 

Certain variations in genes involved in lipid metabolism and brain function may be associated with choosing a vegetarian diet, according to a new study led by Nabeel Yaseen of Northwestern University.

Kredit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain.A small percentage of the population chooses to eat a vegetarian diet for a variety of religious, ethical, environmental, and health-related reasons.

A person's dietary choices may also involve a combination of personal taste, their metabolism and the effects of different foods on the body. All of these factors are strongly influenced by genetics, but the role of a person's genes in choosing a vegetarian diet is not well understood.

In the new study, researchers performed a genome-wide association study where they screened thousands of genomes to identify genetic variations linked to being vegetarian. The researchers compared genomes from 5,324 strict vegetarians to 329,455 non-vegetarians who are participants in the UK Biobank, a large-scale biomedical database.

They identified variants associated with 34 genes that may contribute to choosing a vegetarian diet. Several of these genes have important functions in lipid metabolism and brain function, which raises the possibility that differences in how the body processes lipids and the resulting effects on the brain may underlie the ability and choice to subsist on a vegetarian diet.

Image source: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain.






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