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Scientists Engineer Gluten-Friendly Wheat


U.S. scientists have some welcome news for those who miss bread, but have serious gluten allergies, like Celiac Disease.

Up until now, those with gluten allergies or severe intolerance have had one choice if they want to squelch abdominal pain—to abandon all foods containing wheat, barley and rye. However, it’s a daily struggle to kick gluten completely out of your diets, and either lack of discipline or the tons of products that secretly contain some form of gluten win out.

That was until a study from Washington State University in Pullman released findings from a study that attempted to genetically engineer a gluten-free wheat plant. The team exploring a key enzyme that helps activate a whole set of genes that make a problematic gluten protein and essentially, they were left with wheat seeds containing reduced levels of gluten proteins.

“None of the tested materials was completely nontoxic for celiac patients and couldn’t be recommended for general consumption,” says Shanshan Wen, one author of the study. Wen also says that it’ll take more tinkering before they can create a seed that eliminates the problem gluten proteins entirely, resulting wheat still should make decent bread for baking.

Currently, studies are also being conducted to find alternative dietary solutions for celiac disease, such as:

1. Oral enzyme therapies—which encourage the digestion of the bits of gluten that cause allergic reactions in the gut due to lack of natural digestive enzymes.

2. Desensitization—where celiac patients consume tiny amounts of gluten to gradually raise their desensitization. This method has already shown promise in clinical trials for treating allergies to peanuts and milk.

 

Source: LA Times

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