No popular authors found.

Categories

No categories found.


Join Celiac.com's forum / message board and get your questions answered! Our forum has nearly 1 MILLION POSTS, and over 62,000 MEMBERS just waiting to help you with any questions about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. We'll see you there!






Follow / Share


  FOLLOW US:
Twitter Facebook Google Plus RSS Podcast Email  Get Email Alerts

SHARE:

Popular Articles

No popular articles found.
Celiac.com Sponsors:

Are Anti-GMO Campaigners Blocking Gluten-free Wheat that Could Help Celiac Sufferers?

Celiac.com 09/25/2015 - Are anti-GMO campaigners blocking gluten-free wheat that could help people with celiac disease?

Photo: CC--Roger KarstenThere's an interesting blog post by Daniel Norero in Biology Fortified. The blog post claims that a type of GM wheat that may improve the quality of life for celiac patients has faced opposition from anti-GMO campaigners who oppose approval and commercialization of the product.

Certainly, producing a variety of gluten-free wheat offers one alternative to avoiding gluten. However, it is difficult, if not impossible, to create a baking-quality gluten-free wheat strain using conventional techniques such as selection and hybridization.

That reality led a team of Spanish scientists, headed by Dr. Francisco Barro, to use RNA interference (RNAi) to deactivate or delete the genes in wheat that produce the gliadin proteins. By 2011, the team had created four strains of wheat with particularly low amounts of gliadins, which produced in people with celiac disease a reaction up to 95% less toxic than the one produced by standard wheat.

Two of those wheat strains, E82 and D793, showed gliadin reductions of about 96% and 97% respectively. For people with celiac disease, this would equate to a safe maximum daily consumption of bread up to 43.6 and 66.9 grams per day.

The blog entry goes on to say that, despite the opportunity presented by this GM crop to improve the quality of life of celiac patients, problems have arisen at the approval and commercialization stages, largely due to opposition from Spanish and European anti-GMO activists.

Norero then quotes from blog post by Jose Miguel Mulet, a Spanish plant scientist from CSIC:

"How can it be that a technology created with Spanish public funds end up in the hands of a private American company? Because of the aberrant anti-GMO European law. No European or Spanish company is interested in commercially developing this wheat due to obstacles in the authorization process…The result: licensing rights have been acquired by the…Dow Agrosciences, given that the authorization process in the United States is much easier."

Norero makes an interesting read. It's certainly possible that some type of genetic modification could benefit people with celiac disease. However, it's unclear how a wheat with a 95-97% reduction in gluten toxicity would relate to the current 20ppm total gluten allowed by U.S. law, or exactly what the nature of the alleged benefits for celiacs might be.

What do you think? Should genetically modified wheat be permitted if it's helpful to people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance? Or no, should there be no GMO wheat, no matter the claimed benefits? 

Celiac.com welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).



Related Articles




Spread The Word





24 Responses:

 
Ed Arnold
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
26 Sep 2015 9:21:44 AM PST
Why the obsession with the idea that people HAVE to have wheat?

 
jacqie
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
28 Sep 2015 4:57:21 PM PST
I agree - I live happily without wheat. I don't want wheat in my diet. I especially don't want to be someone's experiment. GMO is about profit and nothing else. BigAg is freaking out because people are actually beginning to question how their food is raised. We celiacs are the proverbial "canaries in the coal mine" and BigAg will do just about anything to discredit us.

 
Kaleab J
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
30 Sep 2015 7:36:43 AM PST
Yes, I don't understand what the big deal is with being able to eat wheat. If the gluten is removed then it will most definitely not taste or bake the same as actual wheat, so why even try?

 
heather
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
28 Sep 2015 6:29:22 AM PST
GMO marketers are touting GMOs as custom solutions to various digestive issues. Just as the wind blows and birds and insects fly, GMOs cannot be contained and threaten to contaminate other crops, affect important pollinator insects, and affect humans and animals in ways that can't be foreseen. GMOs are like opening Pandora's box on nature. Some GMOs allow plants to survive ever larger amounts of pesticides, pesticides that get into the food chain and pesticides that end up in our bodies. The corporate giants that control GMOs want us to think that they will have the keys to all sorts of ailments, of course -- great marketing for their profit-maker and great way to get more taxpayer research dollars. Heck, wouldn't it be great to walk through the woods and be able to eat bird berries and poisonous mushrooms? When do we say enough is enough and ask the powers to be to stop messing with nature? How about focusing on cleaning nature up? Look up the number of toxic Superfund sites in the USA that have been sitting for decades right in our towns and countrysides? How about working to protect pollinators and work with nature? Oh, not enough profit in it. The downsides and risks to swamping our environment with GMOs are too great. I'm celiac and I'm tired of hearing about "cures" all the time so that I supposedly can stop watching what I eat. GMOs unleashed will make our choices even harder. I imagine many of us will end up in the doctor's office trying to figure out what is still bothering our gut after our bodies are forced to deal with the unknowns of GMOs. How long will it take doctors to figure all that out? Think how long it's taken many of them to get on board understanding celiac. I know some would like to think we're on an episode of Star Trek and that the science of GMOs is moving us ever-closer to curing all disease and creating food in a replicator. Who will own that monopoly? I think we know.
(This comment is submitted as a personal opinion on the topic and not meant to reflect at the writer's or owner's of the celiac.com website in any way. I appreciate the opportunity to express opinion here and to read opinions of others. Thanks!)

 
Jeff
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
28 Sep 2015 6:52:26 AM PST
Jefferson, certainly genetically modified wheat should be permitted particularly if it will help celiacs. The anti-GMO folks sound politically correct on all fronts, but the science is lacking to underscore their concerns. Someday science may show their concerns justified--and also that may prove to be shown to be a straw man. Time will tell, but the most important thing is to utilize ALL efforts at improving life for those of us with celiac sprue. Which is the traditional name for the condition--which I use and urge all others to do likewise also.

 
Dr. Jean Layton
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
28 Sep 2015 8:51:09 AM PST
I would be thrilled to imagine there would be a wheat that wouldn't have the gluten proteins that make me sick.
GMO crops were launched without the scientific inquiries that would make certain that the modifications would do no harm.
Most GMOs currently in production were done to increase resistance to glysphosate (roundup).
Although the techniques are possible, without evaluation of long term exposure to the modifications, the initial consumers become the test set.
Personally, I would stay far, far away from GMO Wheat.
so many problems that could occur:
Cross contamination in the fields,
cross contamination in the processing
How could a consumer know whether or not they are getting modified wheat or regular?
I'll continue to eat my gluten free grains and stay healthy, thanks

 
debbh
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
28 Sep 2015 6:15:17 PM PST
I totally agree!

 
Adele
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
30 Sep 2015 4:38:31 PM PST
I had the same concerns about cross contamination when reading the article. I also wonder if it's healthy for a celiac to eat wheat that's only 95 - 97% gluten free. This doesn't seem like it would adhere to the less than 20 ppm GF standard in the US.

 
David
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
28 Sep 2015 1:37:02 PM PST
I don't understand why a government would block it. Let a company make the product and make sure the label clearly states its a GMO product and let the people decide if they want it or not.

 
Jess
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
28 Sep 2015 5:03:46 PM PST
GMO doesn't have to be labeled in the USA and I'm positive the private company won't voluntarily do so. I agree that the consumer should have the opportunity to decide what goes in their bodies. As for me and my celiac... I avoid GMO as much as possible!

 
Thomas L Claggett
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
28 Sep 2015 2:32:56 PM PST
Certainly we should explore any option that could give us some (dietary options).

 
debbh
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
28 Sep 2015 2:51:54 PM PST
I'm all for gluten free wheat - but GMO usually means treating seeds with herbicide, pesticide resistant roundup Monsanto products. YUK! We are making our nation sicker and sicker. Get back to nature and enjoy God's gifts (Not Chemicals).

 
Jess
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
28 Sep 2015 5:04:59 PM PST
Big fat NO!!

 
Mari
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
28 Sep 2015 6:03:57 PM PST
No. What about the 5% in that strand that could cause problems? Did the doctors in Spain forget that a single grain of gluten causes a reaction in the small intestine for 72 hours? Five percent of gluten is still gluten. If they could produce a strand that is 100% safe it would be good, but it still seems too commercial and less natural. Are we here for the money or to help people with celiac disease? Why instead of trying to produce something anti-nature , they look for other alternatives that seem more logical?

 
James
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
28 Sep 2015 8:30:02 PM PST
With the genetic change would it still taste like wheat? Could the same things be made with it? Would the food products have the same characteristics? Or would it be like a totally different food source?

 
Cass
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
28 Sep 2015 9:45:10 PM PST
Wheat is a carbohydrate which is converted to sugar. Coincidentally, obesity and diabetes rates are skyrocketing. So make GF wheat products with little nutritional value, so celiacs can get fat. Great. GF Twinkies. Great.

 
Leigh
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
29 Sep 2015 6:54:07 AM PST
I personally would LOVE to be able to bake and eat wheat again. I completely understand the argument against GMO's, but I guess I have gotten to the age where I realize there are advocates against just about everything and that everything is going to kill us somehow... spray on sunscreen, coffee, antibiotics in chicken, etc. etc. If I could enjoy baking for my family again, foods that taste normal and look normal, even if it shortens my life somewhat... so be it. Yes, I'm to that point.

 
C J Russell
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
29 Sep 2015 8:33:46 AM PST
I would also LOVE to be able to have a decent slice of bread once in a while; something I have yet to find in the gluten-free world! Bring on GMO wheat!

 
Pavla
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
29 Sep 2015 12:20:13 PM PST
If it is clearly labeled GMO and labeled low-gluten instead of gluten-free, yes why not go ahead and plague all the fields with it. There's no way I am eating it.
Otherwise I agree with the first comment. Why is there such a pressure that everybody eats wheat? First of all, it had no nutritional value worth all this trouble.
Second, there will be big problems with cross-contamination. It will need to be grown and processed separate from regular wheat and the costs of that will reflect in the price of such GF wheat products.
Third, in baking it will act like any other gluten-free flour. I remember a few years ago before Christmas certain stores started selling very cheap wheat flour. And since in our country we have a tradition of baking sweat bread and cookies for Christmas, everybody bought that flour and started baking - the cookies would fall apart, the bread dough wouldn't rise and bread would get very dense and tough. Turned out the cheap wheat had quite low gluten content, only about 3% instead of usual 10%. Now this GMO wheat will certainly contain much less than 3% of gluten to be 95% safe for celiacs. So for those who hope they will be able to make regular wheat bread with this wheat, well, don't let your hopes soar too high.
And at last, 95% safe equals to 5% poisonous to celiac patients. Not to mention the gluten/wheat intolerant who react to a host of other peptides in wheat besides gliadin.

 
Kathy
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
29 Sep 2015 12:35:41 PM PST
I find it sad that people are so eager to experiment on their families with GMO wheat....or GMO anything. It's not a risk you absorb alone. Your kids, grand-kids, great grand-kids are going to absorb the risk too. We don't know anything about the safety to current generation, let alone epigenetic effects. What if you're doubling a grandchild's risk of a neurodevelopmental delay because of your GMO cookie?

 
Donna
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
29 Sep 2015 1:26:31 PM PST
I have been on the GF diet for over 40 years. We do not need wheat or bread in our diets. It is the culture and big business that has insisted we eat it. What is missing in this discussion of give me bread, is the fact that the crops deplete the soil, that there is no data on what harm will be done to bees and other insects as well as birds that eat this unnatural grain. We have seen the bee population drop as well as the Monarch butterfly due to human engineering of crops. I don't feel like being anyone's guinea pig. Celiacs should be healthier than the general population since we should be eating more healthy than filling up on breads and cookies filled with more carbs than we need.

 
Hev
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
30 Sep 2015 11:29:23 AM PST
No thanks! I don't want any genetically modified wheat. In fact I don't want genetically modified anything. There is more than enough evidence out there to suggest that the risks to human health might be more serious than we have been led to believe. There are plenty of other things to eat. Wheat is not an essential food item.

 
Sharon
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
13 Oct 2015 12:38:25 PM PST
Let's all keep in mind that a very significant study out of Columbia University last fall showed that a group of patients with celiac react to numerous other proteins in wheat, aside from those in gluten (gliadins and glutenins). So while gluten-free wheat may well address the most serious issue - the autoimmune response leading to villi damage, other symptoms related to reactions to other proteins in wheat will not be addressed. There are many considerations and implications to the Columbia U study:
(1) Is there a pre-celiac condition (ala pre-diabetic) when patients are reacting to one or more proteins in wheat but not yet gluten specifically gliadin leading to positive celiac antibody testing and small bowel villi changes?
(2) Is NCGS a reaction to one or of these wheat proteins presenting the plethora of cross symptoms with celiac disease - aside from the villi changes due to reaction to gluten proteins that have a tight genetic link?
(3) Do other foods for which many celiac folks cross react to such as dairy, soy, rice, other grains, seaweed/seaweed additives have similar primary proteins to some of these wheat proteins?

In conclusion, they can toss out the modified gluten-free wheat, as well as all the meds being tested to enzymatically eliminate accidental gluten ingestion - as no one may be able to tell if it is working if the other proteins are causing symptoms. While it will prevent the most serious damage caused by the gluten in wheat to the small bowel - the rest of the symptoms similar to those with NSCG may not be addressed. This all begs the question - are any of these other proteins in wheat causing intestinal damage?

If the new research is correct - patients may still have reactions to the other proteins in wheat - despite the action on the gluten to prevent intestinal damage.

 
K2
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
19 Oct 2015 5:47:50 AM PST
Why do people think if you don't eat wheat, you are somehow deprived? When I hear about the "wholesomeness of whole grain wheat" it reminds me of the commercials from my childhood for "wholesome Hostess Cupcakes" and is about as accurate.




Rate this article and leave a comment:
Rating: * Poor Excellent
Your Name *: Email (private) *: