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GENE EXPRESSION, NUTRIENT REGULATION OF

in practice the prohibitions have little effect on daily con- sumption, they reinforce men’s power by emphasizing their right to meat and other preferred foods (O’Laugh- lin, 1974). Under conditions of food deficiency, women are particularly vulnerable to hunger, along with children and the elderly, because they generally have less power over food and other resources than men. In Malawi, un- der normal conditions, women controlled grain stores and lived close to their relatives in matrilineal and ma- trilocal households. But in the 1949 famine, crops failed and women had no grain to control. Wage labor, exclu- sively practiced by men, was the only way to gain access to food, but many men left their wives’ households to search for food in the villages where they were born, so women lost access to men’s labor and wages while still being responsible for feeding children, the elderly, and themselves (Vaughn, 1987). Under conditions of food in- security, male power over food is particularly salient, but even under conditions of food security, gender relations play an important role in food production, distribution, and consumption across cultures and time periods.

See also Anorexia, Bulimia; Anthropology and Food; Divi- sion of Labor; Lactation; Milk, Human; Sex and Food; Symbol, Food as; Taboos; Time; Women and Food.

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Carole M. Counihan

GENE EXPRESSION, NUTRIENT REGULA-

TION OF. The human genome (or genetic material) is comprised of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) that en- codes information required for all life processes, includ- ing growth, development, reproduction, and even cell death. The functional units within the genome are called genes. Genes are hereditary regions of DNA that encode functional molecules, either proteins or ribonucleic acid (RNA) species. The human genome encodes approxi- mately 100,000 genes on 23 chromosomes. DNA resides in a specific compartment within the cell, known as the nucleus. Each nucleated human cell within an individual, regardless of its origin, contains identical DNA. How- ever, the genetic code is expressed or read differently in each cell type. Gene expression refers to the processes in which the genetic code is deciphered to produce a func- tional macromolecule, either protein or RNA. While some genes are expressed in all cells, others are expressed exclusively in certain tissues or organs. This selective reading of the code imparts very different chemical, func- tional, and morphological properties to each cell type and ultimately defines the function of a tissue or organ. Genes

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