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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Gluten-free Wheat? Can New Wheat Hybrids Help Celiac Sufferers?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 07/31/2013 - People with celiac disease react to specific proteins in wheat, and a team of scientists from Washington State University are attempting to develop new varieties of wheat that suppress those proteins and are safe for those with celiac disease.

    Photo: CC--mrpbpsCurrently, they can silence nearly 90 percent of the protein that causes a gluten reaction. They hope their research efforts will lead them to a strain that suppress 100% of the proteins that trigger gluten reactions.

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    Since people with celiac disease react to specific proteins in wheat, the simple solution is to eliminate those proteins to develop an allergy-free wheat.

    According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, wheat is made up of three groups of proteins : gliadins, low molecular weight glutenin subunits and high molecular weight glutenin subunits.

    The majority of people with celiac disease can tolerate the high molecular weight glutenin proteins, so the Washington State scientists attempted to silence the genetic expression of the other proteins in wheat.

    The high molecular weight glutenins are necessary for baking, so the wheat should produce flour suitable for a variety of breads and dough.

    The researchers are using a genetic technique called RNA interference, that has enabled them to silence the expression of more than 80 percent of the wheat genes associated with autoimmune reactions.

    “With our molecular genetic technologies we have wheat plants that silence 85.6 percent of the immunogenic genes,” said Diter von Wettstein, a plant science professor at Washington State. “The chances of getting plants with more than 90 percent silencing is good.”

    Such wheat hybrids might not work for all people with celiac disease, but could they provide benefits for the majority of people with celiac disease?

    What do you think? Would you try it? Share your thoughts below.

    Read More at Producer.com.

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    I get severe stomach pains and other serious symptoms after eating GM-containing food products, so I don't think I would want to try the wheat if it's been genetically modified. I wouldn't even know if I was reacting to the wheat or the GMO adulteration. Since I don't know why I can't tolerate GM foods, I wouldn't want to take the risk. If the wheat is not GM, I might consider trying it, if it is truly gluten-free.

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    I am whole food plant strong in my diet and I love it. The only thing that frustrates me is I cannot eat wheat, barley or rye. The gluten-free breads are so unhealthy that I have just decided to forego eating bread. I would love to try this wheat. The person who said only nature can produce food doesn't realize that man has been manipulating plants for thousands of years... most often for the bad. Our fruits and vegetables have been manipulated to be sweeter, larger, more attractive and non-perishable. How does he think all the California vegetables and fruits end up in our supermarkets? Yes, bring on the gluten-free wheat!

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    I would likely try it, but I would try to be smart about it. I think I would know pretty quickly if it was a problem with me because first my fatigue and joint pain would return, then I would probably have an outbreak of dermatitis herpetiformis. But even without those symptoms, I would want some follow up bloodwork to check my nutrients and my anemia. But would I want to taste really good wheat bread again? YES! So I would try it.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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