Right now bread made from gluten-free wheat may sound likeÂ something from a science-fiction novel but scientists say that itâ€™s a realÂ possibility.
Scientists from Washington State University are experimenting by looking for varieties of wheat andÂ barley that lack, or at least make a lot less of, key gluten proteins inÂ their grains. Gluten is a mix of proteins stored in seeds of wheat, barleyÂ and rye and only some of these proteins trigger the allergic reactions inÂ celiac and gluten intolerant patients. So what if these deadly proteinsÂ could be removed? Would the wheat then be safe for celiacs to eat?
So far none of theÂ varieties of wheat and barley they have found are completely safe forÂ celiacs to eat but they have found some varieties that lack some of theÂ important allergenic proteins.
Their approach relies on a key enzyme, an enzyme that helps activateÂ a whole set of genes that make the most problematic gluten proteins.Â With genetic engineering to get rid of this enzyme, the seeds of theÂ wheat were then found to contain majorly reduced levels of this set ofÂ problem proteins.
This kind of genetically modified ‘Frankenwheat’ is more than likely the reason that many of us can’t tolerate wheat or gluten in the first place so is creating another type of genetically modified wheat really the way to go?
Do we really need or want wheat in our diets? There are plenty of naturally gluten free grains out there already…
Would you eat a wheat bread if the gluten had been removed? Or would scientists would be better off using their resources elsewhere?