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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Researchers 'Very Close' to Developing Celiac-safe Wheat

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 08/28/2013 - Researchers at Washington State University are 'very close' to developing celiac-safe wheat strains, says lead project researcher Diter von Wettstein.

    Photo: CC--jayneanddRich Koenig, associate dean and director of WSU Extension, says the wheat project involves removing the gluten material that causes the adverse reaction in people who have celiac disease.

    Von Wettstein says that his team has developed wheat hybrids that have 76.4 percent less gluten proteins than conventional strains, and that the next step is to eliminate the remaining percentage.

    Von Wettstein is working two distinct angles on this project. The first approach uses genetic modification, while the seconds does not. He acknowledges that doing it without genetic modification "would be better…But in the end, if the only way to do this is through genetic modification of wheat, it could still be a major advancement for people who suffer from that disease."

    The projects may still take a while as von Wettstein works to identify, selectively silence and remove the responsible genes.

    One caveat is that even if the project is successful, the wheat may not produce flour suitable for baking, though Koenig says that producing wheat suitable for people with celiac disease would be, nonetheless, an "important subsection of wheat production"

    Funding for von Wettstein's research is coming from The National Institutes of Health and Washington State's Life Science Discovery Fund.

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    I don't think gmo wheat is going to be accepted so what is the point here. Especially if the flour is still unsuitable for bread. Farmers can just switch to growing a different grain for celiacs. Sorry, but I think this is a waste of research money.

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    Hopefully, the gluten-free wheat will be developed without making it just another risky GMO. I get severe stomach pains, and other symptoms, if I eat any of the current GM foods, and there is no reason to believe that I'll be able to tolerate any future ones. I would try non-GM wheat if can be rendered completely gluten-free.

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    #1. I am opposed to anything GMO and will do everything I can to avoid it as much as possible.

    #2. After working so hard to avoid wheat the very last thing I would want to do is reintroduce it into my diet, celiac safe or not!

     

    I sincerely wish that the time and money spent on developing a new strain of wheat would be spent on something medically more important.

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    What good will gluten-free wheat be? Will the wheat flour be any better than rice flour, or buckwheat flour, or quinoa flour without the gluten in it? I doubt it, but I bet it'll cost a lot more!

    Stop doing useless research and find a cure for the disease.

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    I say why bother. It is gluten that gives bread all its lovliness. Wheat with less/no gluten will produce the same results in bread that we have now with other grains, and that is pretty awful bread...

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    I say why bother. It is gluten that gives bread all its lovliness. Wheat with less/no gluten will produce the same results in bread that we have now with other grains, and that is pretty awful bread...

    I know so many that would agree, what my grand kids would give for a decent piece of bread for a sandwich.

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    I'm doubtful about the results but glad someone is taking an interest in the problem. I think Franz 7 grains Gluten Free bread is pretty good. It could be I am starting to finally forget what good bread taste like after 2 years. I guess either works.

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  • About Me

    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 2,000 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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