Scientists at Nanjing University made a startling discovery about the food we eat. Not only do we ingest the nutrients from our food, we incorporate some of the genetic material as well.
The research team discovered abundant levels of rice microRNA in the bloodstream of Chinese test subjects. And this miRNA isn't just sitting there idly, it may have an effect on our genes. In earlier laboratory trials, this rice miRNA had an effect on gene expression in mice and changed the liver's ability to filter LDL cholesterol.
The possibility that the food we eat may regulate gene expression is an exciting discovery, but it brings up as many questions as answers. Does this explain the medicinal qualities of some foods? Could our food be used as a vector to treat disease? And what does this mean for genetically modified foods? [Popsci; Image from Valentyn Volkov/Shutterstock]