A Guide to Applying the Sex-Gender Perspective to Nutritional Genomics

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© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Precision nutrition aims to make dietary recommendations of a more personalized nature possible, to optimize the prevention or delay of a disease and to improve health. Therefore, the characteristics (including sex) of an individual have to be taken into account as well as a series of omics markers. The results of nutritional genomics studies are crucial to generate the evidence needed so that precision nutrition can be applied. Although sex is one of the fundamental variables for making recommendations, at present, the nutritional genomics studies undertaken have not analyzed, systematically and with a gender perspective, the heterogeneity/homogeneity in gene-diet interactions on the different phenotypes studied, thus there is little information available on this issue and needs to be improved. Here we argue for the need to incorporate the gender perspective in nutritional genomics studies, present the general context, analyze the differences between sex and gender, as well as the limitations to measuring them and to detecting specific sex-gene or sex-phenotype associations, both at the specific gene level or in genome-wide-association studies. We analyzed the main sex-specific gene-diet interactions published to date and their main limitations and present guidelines with recommendations to be followed when undertaking new nutritional genomics studies incorporating the gender perspective.