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Found 5 results

  1. Celiac.com 02/11/2019 - Researchers have shown that CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology can be used to remove epitopes from gliadin protein in gluten. These molecules trigger the adverse immune response seen in people with celiac disease. However, will Europe’s strict GM rules prevent this discovery from being used to create new gluten-free products for people with celiac disease? Researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) in the UK, have shown that CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology can be used to remove epitopes from gliadin protein in gluten. Gluten contains an assortment glutenin and gliadin proteins. Most of these gliadins and many of the glutenins contain immunogenic epitopes that trigger an immune response in celiacs, but others do not trigger such a reaction. As part of her PhD thesis, scientific researcher, Aurlie Jouanin, has shown that CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology can be used to remove certain epitopes that trigger celiac reactions. The research team did not remove all gliadin proteins from their wheat samples, which means that the wheat plants in this case were not safe for celiacs, but Jouanin found a way to spot both the genes that changed, and the ones that still required modification. Jouanin’s research suggest that it’s possible to remove just the gliadin epitopes that can trigger celiac disease. If just the offending epitopes can be removed, or altered, then the gluten proteins will not trigger the adverse immune response common in people with celiac disease, then it would be possible to make all kinds of products containing this safe gluten. Moreover, by allowing select, non-offending gliadins to remain in the bread, the result would likely be bread that is both safe for celiacs to eat, and which also has improved characteristics that are associated with traditional non-gluten-free bread. The result could be a win-win for people with celiac disease who are looking for improved gluten-free and gluten-safe great products. According to Bianca Rootsaert, director of the Dutch Coeliac Association, “gluten-free wheat would be a great improvement in the quality of life of celiac patients.” What do you think? Would you be excited to try products made from wheat that had been treated to remove celiac-triggering gluten proteins? Share your thought below.
  2. Celiac.com 04/17/2018 - Could the holy grail of gluten-free food lie in special strains of wheat that lack “bad glutens” that trigger the celiac disease, but include the “good glutens” that make bread and other products chewy, spongey and delicious? Such products would include all of the good things about wheat, but none of the bad things that might trigger celiac disease. A team of researchers in Spain is creating strains of wheat that lack the “bad glutens” that trigger the autoimmune disorder celiac disease. The team, based at the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture in Cordoba, Spain, is making use of the new and highly effective CRISPR gene editing to eliminate the majority of the gliadins in wheat. Gliadins are the gluten proteins that trigger the majority of symptoms for people with celiac disease. As part of their efforts, the team has conducted a small study on 20 people with “gluten sensitivity.” That study showed that test subjects can tolerate bread made with this special wheat, says team member Francisco Barro. However, the team has yet to publish the results. Clearly, more comprehensive testing would be needed to determine if such a product is safely tolerated by people with celiac disease. Still, with these efforts, along with efforts to develop vaccines, enzymes, and other treatments making steady progress, we are living in exciting times for people with celiac disease. It is entirely conceivable that in the not-so-distant future we will see safe, viable treatments for celiac disease that do not require a strict gluten-free diet. Read more at Digitaltrends.com , and at Newscientist.com
  3. Celiac.com 01/08/2018 - Imagine gluten-free wheat. Well, actually you don't have to imagine it, because a group of scientists has used a gene-editing technique called CRISPR/Cas9 to cut selected genes from a wheat genome, and presto, gluten-free wheat is a thing. As people in numerous countries debate genetically modified crops, some countries, including France and Germany, have passed laws to prohibit their cultivation. Remember, we're not talking about hybridization here, which is based on natural selection and works by interbreeding plant strains. Researchers have used hybridization to develop strains of wheat that are low in gluten, but so far no one has made a strain that is entirely free of gluten. In this case, we're talking about genetic modification; changing the basic genetic structure of the plant. The greatest objections around GMO practices have been focused on the insertion of DNA from one species into another species, says Francisco Barro, a plant biotechnologist at the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture in Spain. To steer clear of this genetic process, Barro and his team used the gene-editing technique CRISPR/Cas9 to remove certain genes from a wheat genome. Their team focused on alpha-gliadins, gluten proteins that are thought to be the trigger for immune system reactions in people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. To accomplish their goal of removing the culprit gene(s), the research team used the scissorlike Cas9 protein to cut out 35 of the 45 alpha-gliadin genes. Lab tests showed that the new wheat strain reduced the immune response by 85 percent, the team reported. Far from being any kind of decisive breakthrough though, this is just one “really important step in maybe producing something that is going to be incredibly useful,” says Wendy Harwood, a crop geneticist at the John Innes Center in England. Meanwhile, Barro says his team is working on targeting more gluten-triggered genes to develop a completely safe strain of wheat for celiac patients. Source: Scientific American
  4. Celiac.com 10/25/2017 - For people with celiac disease, eating gluten proteins from wheat, barley, and rye triggers an auto-immune response, and the accompanying physical symptoms. A team of researchers recently set out to engineer low-gluten wheat strains that also have low-reactivity for people with celiac disease. To meet their goals, the team designed two sgRNAs to target a conserved region adjacent to the coding sequence for the 33-mer in the -gliadin genes. They then sought to evaluate the results. The research team included Susana Sánchez-León, Javier Gil-Humanes, Carmen V. Ozuna, María J. Giménez, Carolina Sousa, Daniel F. Voytas, and Francisco Barro. They are variously affiliated with the Departamento de Mejora Genética Vegetal, Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible (IAS-CSIC), Córdoba, Spain; the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, Center for Genome Engineering at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN, USA; and with the Facultad de Farmacia, Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain. The gliadin gene family of wheat includes four highly reactive peptides, with the 33-mer peptide being the main culprit in celiac patients. In all, the team generated twenty-one mutant lines, all of which showed strong reduction gliadin proteins. Of the 45 different genes identified in wild type gliadin, the team mutated up to 35 different genes in one of the lines to achieve an 85% reduction in immunoreactivity. They then identified the transgene-free lines, and found no off-target mutations in any of the potential targets. So, what does this all mean in English? Well, basically the low-gluten, transgene-free wheat lines that the team describes here could be used to produce low-gluten foods, as well as serving as source material to introduce the low-gluten, low-reactivity traits into selected wheat varieties. Basically, the technology could be used to create low-gluten wheat varieties with low immunoreactivity. Now, most folks with celiac disease, especially those with higher gluten sensitivity, would likely need more than and 85% reduction in immunoreactivity to see any real benefit. However, this study provides an interesting glimpse at how science might help researchers to create wheat strains that are safe for people with celiac disease. Source: Plant Biotechnology Journal. DOI: 10.1111/pbi.12837
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