Kristen Rogers’s CNN Health article discusses the recent findings surrounding the relationship between an individual’s genes, specifically single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and their food preferences. Researchers collected data from over 160,000 Japanese people, and found nine locations on the genome associated with the consumption of coffee, tea, alcohol, yogurt, cheese, natto, tofu, fish, vegetables, and meat.
An excellent job was done in remaining neutral and providing input from another credible source, outside the original research paper being discussed. The input was from an individual that was skeptical of the findings made by the researchers. Additionally, valid points were made claiming that the researchers sought out a more “nature” approach, disregarding the “nurture” side of the long-debated topic of “nature vs. nurture.”
The article does possess a few weaknesses in terms of presentation and accessibility. Pertaining to overall presentation, there is an overwhelming number of related CNN articles and sponsored articles from other websites scattered around the article that were found to be distracting. Regarding accessibility, the research paper that served as the main topic of discussion was difficult to find, as there is no link or cited sources available in the article. Rogers’s contact information and biography are also not available.
Overall, the author flawlessly depicted the main and essential points from the main research paper being discussed, as well as including other published scientific information to further enhance understanding.
This CNN news article describes recent findings published in Nature of Human Behaviour studying genetic associations with food preferences. Using data from 160,000 Japanese individuals, a team from Riken IMS and Osaka University identified genetic markers for thirteen dietary habits including alcohol consumption, beverage preferences (tea vs coffee) as well as consumption of foods such as tofu, fish or vegetables. The genetic variants identified could potentially explain why food preferences differ within populations.
The author of the news article, Kristen Rogers, does an excellent job describing the research process without any unexplained jargon, making the article accessible to the general public. Moreover, Rogers incorporates sources from outside the original research study which adds credibility to the story. The opposing perspective addresses the limitations of the study, notably the fact that genetics are not the only factor affecting dietary habits, often largely influenced by environmental factors. Furthermore, Rogers avoids the use of any sensationalist language, and makes sure to state the potential applications of this research in the field of nutrition.
While overall quite informative, the article does have a few shortcomings, mainly regarding its accessibility issues. Firstly, the author’s name is included but no additional information is provided, making it very difficult to identify any potential conflicts of interest on their part. Secondly, there is no link to the original research study (which is closed access), a large hurdle when it comes to confirming the accuracy of the author’s reporting. Lastly, the title is not entirely representative of the article content: it only mentions a small aspect of the study (preferring coffee over tea) that is barely discussed in the article.
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