Celiac disease as well as gluten intolerance is widespread amongst the population, but recently a team of talented researchers may have found the solution to their distress- genetically modified wheat. Researchers Cristina Rosella, Francisco Barrob, Carolina Sousac, and Ma Carmen Menad investigated ways to ‘silence’ protein coding genes that are responsible for triggering adverse immune responses in those with celiac disease. Their research as recently published in the Journal of Cereal Science. Jefferson Adams of the San Francisco Examiner discusses the team’s findings in his piece found on celiac.com:
“Their report acknowledges that creating strains of wheat with reduced gluten toxicity is difficult using conventional breeding methods, and that genetic modification, in particular a technology called RNA interference (RNAi), hold the greatest promise in reducing or ‘silencing’ the gluten proteins in wheat and other cereals. Such technology allows researchers to develop gluten-free wheat strains by adjusting the gluten fractions toxic to those with celiac disease.”
Adam’s describes this event as a “major turning point” for finding suitable lines of wheat that is digestible with celiac disease.
Overall, their objective was to create lines of wheat varieties through genetic modification to help the greater good of people with this disease or intolerance in both developed and developing parts of the world, he writes
“Their efforts to create celiac-friendly wheat varieties via genetic modification aims to solve a health problem that directly affects a large proportion of consumers, in developed as well as developing countries, and with higher consumer awareness.”
Finally, Adams as well as the research team highlights the potential concerns their efforts could face due to resistance fueled by global concerns around genetically modified foods.