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Is Genetically Modified Wheat the Solution to Celiac Disease?

Celiac.com 06/30/2014 - The people who grow wheat think they might have a solution for people with celiac disease: Genetically modified wheat.

Photo: CC--bluemooseBy genetically modifying wheat, researchers are looking to ‘silence’ proteins that trigger adverse immune reactions in people with celiac disease.

A research team working on just such a project recently published a report of their results in the Journal of Cereal Science. The team included researchers Cristina M. Rosella, Francisco Barrob, Carolina Sousac, and Ma Carmen Menad.

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.

They acknowledge that their efforts could face resistance fueled by global concerns around genetically modified foods. They also note that current and prior genetic modification efforts have not produced products with tangible benefits to the consumer. Rather, the main beneficiaries of such efforts have been large companies and/or farmers.

According to their report, the development of genetically modified wheat lines suitable for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance could be a major turning point.

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.”

What do you think? Is this a possible breakthrough? Would you be interested in wheat that had been genetically modified to be safe for people with celiac disease?

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41 Responses:

 
Sherri
Rating: ratingfullratingemptyratingemptyratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
30 Jun 2014 4:27:23 AM PST
I don't care who thinks GMO's are the way to 'cure' anything! They are destructive and I refuse to ever eat Frankenfood. I support certified organic and the environment the way it's meant to be not this fake food!

 
brad
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said this on
08 Jul 2014 4:09:36 PM PST
I'm on board, all science is not bad, in fact without it, many of us even wouldn't be here......I'll take GMO over bellyaches any day of the week !!!

 
kristian
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said this on
30 Jun 2014 5:27:34 AM PST
Noo! This is awful. Where do you think celiac came from?! Genetically modifying our foods!

 
Emily
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said this on
01 Jul 2014 12:18:32 PM PST
Actually, no, GMOs have nothing to do with celiac disease. The increased gluten concentration found in today's wheat is ENTIRELY due to conventional cross-breeding of strains to select for the desired trait - in this case, the better bread texture that gluten provides.

 
Matt
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said this on
30 Jun 2014 6:10:17 AM PST
Awesome! Science rules.

 
may williamson
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said this on
30 Jun 2014 9:46:50 AM PST
I wouldn't like to put my faith in any GMO.

 
Michelle S.

said this on
30 Jun 2014 6:07:53 PM PST
What other medical conditions will genetically engineered wheat bring on? Leave nature to nature and just cut out foods with gluten from your diet. It's not the end of the world! There is still plenty left to eat!

 
Mary C D
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said this on
09 Jul 2014 7:54:15 AM PST
I agree 100%. I've not starved yet on the GF diet! We don't need GMO's .

 
Kevin
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said this on
30 Jun 2014 6:44:42 PM PST
This sounds great!

 
Catherine

said this on
08 Jul 2014 9:12:38 AM PST
I agree completely. The only reason to make an issue of celiacs is to get food producers to leave wheat out and make healthier food. This is a people issue not just a celiac issue.

 
Glenn
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said this on
01 Jul 2014 5:24:54 AM PST
Let's ask the people wit celiac disease what they think. This sounds like it is still in the early stages of development, but sounds like it could be a breakthrough. In the long run, if we ban all GM Foods, we will starve.

 
allan
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said this on
03 Jul 2014 4:16:52 PM PST
My MD routinely checked me for allergies, general, food, etc. This was in 1973-4 and the approx. 70 scratches on my arm were filled with small rub-on products that a person could be allergic to. I was highly allergic to wheat, nicotine, peas, less allergic to salmon, codfish, tomatoes, etc. I've had 5 vocal cord strippings in the past 15 years and may need 1 more. It is called 'severe dysplasia', next door to cancer. I will be 68 in Nov. 2014 and am in superb condition, other than allergies and things they cause. I get sleepy when I eat certain foods and that's annoying. Etc. Don't see much helping. I don't want GMO's of any kind unless I really need it. Bye!

 
dee
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said this on
09 Jul 2014 7:32:48 AM PST
In the long run, GMO food production, with its soil depleting monoculture and heavy use of pesticides and/or herbicides it promotes, will cause the starvation or ill health of everything on the planet.

 
John R.
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said this on
01 Jul 2014 11:08:46 AM PST
I think the article is right on. Perhaps this modification will work out, perhaps not. But it looks potentially promising and it would irresponsible not to pursue the matter further. It dismays me when others (three of the previous four comments above) irrationally dismiss this topic out of hand merely because it uses the technique "GMO." Luddenites! I don't know of any DOCUMENTED case where the consumption of a GM food has ever caused damage to the person. If you know of such a case, and it is DOCUMENTED (not simply your impression or an offhand comment from your aunt Suzy), please let me know. Science largely supports the development of GM foods (i.e., Scientific American and Technology Review [MIT]) much the same way it also almost universally acknowledges the fact that global warning is actually occurring in the face of ridiculous political (Fox News, Tea Party) denials.

 
Dee Kay
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said this on
03 Jul 2014 9:17:20 AM PST
This is absurd. Certainly people with celiacs are looking for gluten free options, but taking the gluten out of wheat does not make sense. The properties of wheat based products that we love (the chewiness of bread, the texture of cake and cookies) comes from gluten. Removing the gluten from wheat will not give you a product with similar properties to regular wheat, it will give you a product with the properties of other gluten-free wheat replacement options (rice flour, bean flour). We do not need gluten-free wheat. People with celiacs need gluten alternatives. This GMO effort is a waste of research money. We don't even need to discuss how GMOs are bad for farming methods, bad for natural cross pollination, bad for organic farmers, and bad for your health. This is a short sighted idea by someone who doesn't seem to understand exactly what gluten is and what it's properties are.

 
LeeAnne
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said this on
08 Jul 2014 5:37:44 AM PST
Amen!

 
Janine Polk
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said this on
07 Jul 2014 8:54:25 AM PST
Genetically modified strains of wheat, no matter how they are developed, will eventually be the answer. You can't just lump all GMOs together and say they're all bad.

 
Donnie
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said this on
07 Jul 2014 11:56:41 AM PST
I have celiac, and have my doubts about GMO wheat. I certainly wouldn't be likely to tolerate it, even if it can be made gluten-free. The other GMOs cause me severe stomach pains, for some reason and I have to avoid them. And no, I can't prove it, and since GMOs are not labeled, I can't even 'prove' that I ever ate them. I assume this GMO wheat will be drenched in herbicides, like the other GMOs. Also modified with viruses, bacteria and god only knows what else, like the other GMOs. No thank you. I'll just stay on my totally gluten free diet, like I have for the past 10 years. Much safer, and better for my health.

 
Shar
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said this on
08 Jul 2014 10:07:33 AM PST
Why do you assume GMO wheat will be "drenched in herbicides? I don't think GMO and organic are mutually exclusive. GMO wheat can save eyesight in developing countries.

 
dee
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said this on
09 Jul 2014 7:41:08 AM PST
Because vitamins cannot be utilized by the human body as isolates, adding the production of vitamin A alone into a rice product with genes from another plant won't help blindness. It has already been shown not to work. And, by adding DNA from one species into another, we have no idea what nature will do with the result in the long run.

 
Liz
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said this on
07 Jul 2014 2:23:09 PM PST
An absolute NO to anything GMO. Genetic modification is pure hubris.
I have been obligatorily gluten-free and eating organic for more than 15 years, and am usually mistaken for 20 years younger than my age.

 
Mar
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said this on
07 Jul 2014 2:48:58 PM PST
No. We need more attention paid to the contamination of our food that's happened through the use of excessive pesticides, second-hand smoke and diesel fumes during harvesting and transport, and factory-farmed animals that are pumped with antibiotics and hormones designed to make them plumper and/or keep them alive under unhealthy conditions. We have contaminated the food chain so much. We should be cleaning it up, not using our energy to genetically modify foods. GMOs are creating new problems, and encourage us to feel that we can ignore the messes we've already made. I'm celiac and I can live without GMO wheat, designed to line some bigwig's pockets. Trust issues? You bet.

 
maneesha
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said this on
07 Jul 2014 7:45:13 PM PST
Agreed

 
Shar
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said this on
08 Jul 2014 10:23:39 AM PST
Genetic modification can make plants more resistant to pests without using pesticides. I am not sure how you think products should be transported.

 
Michael
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said this on
07 Jul 2014 3:38:21 PM PST
I have celiac, gluten ataxia and a wheat allergy. There is no way I will ever get near wheat again. Just think this through: genetically modified wheat already exists. There is no way you are ever going to control the wind or contamination if other strains. There is no way the majority gluten addicts are ever going to accept elimination of gluten. Then what? You are going to trust restaurant X that you are being served pure non-toxic wheat pasta and bread? You had better come to realize that wheat is variously toxic to everyone, and the human genes that make it so are many thousands of years older than the creation of wheat by hybridization of wild grasses.

 
Maria
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said this on
08 Jul 2014 2:05:29 AM PST
NO. Not in a million years. GMOs should be banned forever.

 
Christy

said this on
08 Jul 2014 4:12:46 AM PST
I definitely think it's worth trying! And as usual if you're against it, you don't have to eat it. You can sit back and watch the rest of us enjoy!

 
Donna
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said this on
08 Jul 2014 9:27:43 PM PST
I agree with you. I have celiac and would love some real tasting bread, especially rye. So someone try something!!!

 
LeeAnne
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said this on
08 Jul 2014 5:42:21 AM PST
Your comment is right on spot!

 
Margo
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said this on
08 Jul 2014 7:55:35 AM PST
This is an interesting concept. I usually stay away from GMOs when I can but I would probably try this as long as it was proven safe for celiacs. Dee Kay is right though, the thing I miss about wheat is the gluten itself--crispy, chewy pizza, croissants, phyllo dough, yeast donuts, things that can't be replicated with GF flours.
By the way, I always look forward to your articles, Jefferson. Thank you for keeping us informed!

 
William
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said this on
08 Jul 2014 12:06:19 PM PST
GMO's are bad not because they are GMO's. They're bad because of the reasons they are modifying them. GMO crops are modified so they are resistant to or naturally produce pesticides and herbicides, allowing farmers to use stronger and stronger chemicals as the organisms they are fighting off adapt to them...something that you obviously don't want to be eating. Lumping all GMOs into the "bad" category, is idiotic.

 
Carol
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said this on
08 Jul 2014 3:20:39 PM PST
There is no way I would eat GMO anything. I can't believe that you even are suggesting that this would be a good thing. The manipulation of wheat and GMO's is what created the celiac problem in the first place - READ Dr William Davis's book and read the science behind the genes! There are plenty of other grains we can eat and actually humans were never designed to be eating grains to begin with.

 
john j acres
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said this on
08 Jul 2014 5:29:40 PM PST
If you are coeliac avoid it...after all wheat is still wheat.

 
gfmom06
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said this on
08 Jul 2014 8:41:46 PM PST
Christy - Too bad it doesn't work that way. Strains of wheat and other grains cross pollinate from particles carried on the wind, by vehicles, equipment, birds, people etc. Once a GMO wheat is planted in an area, all of the surrounding fields get cross-pollinated (cross-contaminated) by it. We will all end up with GMO wheat whether we want it or not. I say NOT! (Check out what Monsanto's GMO soybeans have done to the soybean market.)

 
Marc
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said this on
09 Jul 2014 9:12:58 AM PST
Yes, I think this is worthy of continued research and could provide options for those of us with celiac or other gluten reactions. There are plenty of us who see the benefit of GMO foods or foods produced by a corporation (oh dear!). Excuse me while I enjoy my Cinnamon Chex. I might even eat a Snickers bar later today.

 
Cherri
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said this on
10 Jul 2014 7:29:01 AM PST
No I would not eat any form of GMO wheat. All studies indicate people having problems with GMO anything having symptoms similar to the reactions we have as gluten intolerant beings. Our bodies are simply rejecting GMO products and one issue showing up is leaky gut for millions. NO, bad idea!

 
Linda
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said this on
12 Jul 2014 7:15:04 PM PST
Absolutetly Not! If I'm not meant to eat gluten then so be it. I will never knowingly eat GMO anything.

 
Terri
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said this on
05 Aug 2014 8:17:00 AM PST
NO! NO! NO!

 
Carol Parham, RHIA
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said this on
14 Sep 2014 1:35:29 PM PST
For the uninformed, if you really want to know about GMO's, look on Utube at the TED speeches. One of the scientist who helped develop GMO's is speaking out against them! There is plenty of evidence of damage to our genes and our health when you eat GMO's.

 
Debra-Lou
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said this on
27 Jan 2015 12:13:53 PM PST
I became gluten intolerant after 1995, a short while after GMOs were introduced to our food stream. I also have been diagnosed with gall stones, and just recently had thyroid surgery because I got a large nodule on my thyroid.
As a special education teacher I saw the rate of autism skyrocket during my 37 year career. You can check on the CDC website, the prevalence started going up after 1994. You can also check the CDC website for the rate of diabetes. It started skyrocketing after 1995.
GMOs are going to make almost everyone sick sooner or later and we should ban them like many other countries. But we won't because we no longer have a government for the people or by the people. What we have is for the corporations, by the corporations. Sad.
So the only way to truly help yourself is to go organic.

 
Cash
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said this on
05 Jul 2016 12:31:56 AM PST
When I was first diagnosed with celiac (about six years ago), the Doctor was obviously disappointed that I didn't have Crohn's Disease. His face read: "Damn it, he doesn't need our drugs". Following a GF diet is a major inconvenience at times, but the beauty is that if you stay away from gluten, you don't NEED drugs. There are so many top notch GF breads and they are only getting better. UDi's just came out with a "rye" bread that is AWESOME! I made some Rueben sandwiches and my kids didn't even notice that it wasn't real rye bread.




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