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Natural Awakenings

Does Our Food Control Our Genes?: You Are What You Eat

The old adage, “You are what you eat,” may be literally true. Based on findings from a groundbreaking study by researchers at Nanjing University, in China, the connection between our food’s biochemistry and our own may be more intimate than we imagined.

The researchers discovered that tiny RNAs (a mirror-image form of DNA), or microRNAs, usually found in plants, were circulating in human blood; one of the most common sources was rice, a staple of their native subjects’ diets. After conducting tests with mice, they found that microRNAs were capable of altering cell function and directly manipulating the expression of genes.

The study results, published in the journal Cell Research, suggest that the human body is a highly integrated ecosystem and suggest that genetic changes in one species may trigger alterations in another.

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