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Application of bottom-up and top-down systems biology approaches for the development of functional foods that target specific body functions through either individual ingredients (e.g., resveratrol, ferulic acid, epigallocatechin gallate, EGCG) or specially designed mixtures (e.g., food ingestion).
A discovery process that derives molecular markers for the bioactivity of defined foods through a human intervention trial, and the use of pathway models (bottom-up) should be followed by an animal model study to verify the markers in vivo. Similarly, the biomarker signature identification of specific nutrients using nutri-omics technology in yeast (top-down) will eventually be tested by an intervention study in an animal model. The output of this process, which might well be iterative, is new knowledge obtained for the biological system, as well as the potential for predictive understanding of that system; in the nutritional arena this would lead to personalized nutrition.