Science - January 29, 2004

Twenty million for nutrigenomics research on obesity

Professor of Human Nutrition, Michael Müller, has received twenty million euros funding. to set up a nutrigenomics group within the Wageningen Centre for Food Sciences (WCFS).

Ten of the twenty million comes from the ‘Nationaal Regieorgaan Genomics’, which received money from the Dutch government earmarked for research of scientific and economic importance. The other half of the money comes from WCFS itself.

“One of the conditions of the money from the Regieorgaan is that academic researchers work together with industry,” explains Müller, director of the new cluster. WCFS houses nutrition researchers from Wageningen UR, Universiteit Maastricht, the research institutes Nizo and TNO, and food manufacturers; its main focus is to improve technology for the Dutch food industry.

The nutrigenomics group, in which forty researchers will participate up till 2008, will do research on overweight. The group will develop tests that measure the activity of genes, which can be used to indicate when people’s health starts to decline as a result of overweight.

The ultimate goal is to promote the development of foods that can reduce the negative effects of obesity. “We hope that new foods will be able to keep people medicine-free for longer,” says Müller, “They are certainly likely to improve the quality of life for elderly people.” | Willem Koert

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