Genetically Modified Gluten Free Wheat?


Hanging out by a field of evil wheat.

Right now bread made from gluten-free wheat may sound like something from a science-fiction novel but scientists say that it’s a real possibility.

Scientists from Washington State University are experimenting by looking for varieties of wheat and barley that lack, or at least make a lot less of, key gluten proteins in their grains. Gluten is a mix of proteins stored in seeds of wheat, barley and rye and only some of these proteins trigger the allergic reactions in celiac and gluten intolerant patients. So what if these deadly proteins could be removed? Would the wheat then be safe for celiacs to eat?

So far none of the varieties of wheat and barley they have found are completely safe for celiacs to eat but they have found some varieties that lack some of the important allergenic proteins.

Their approach relies on a key enzyme, an enzyme that helps activate a whole set of genes that make the most problematic gluten proteins. With genetic engineering to get rid of this enzyme, the seeds of the wheat were then found to contain majorly reduced levels of this set of 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?


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  • Jennifer

    Dec 12th, 2012

    NOPE, I will never eat GMO foods, wheat or not. And scientists should spend their science money elsewhere.

  • There is no way on God’s green earth that I would eat such a product. You’re completely right about genetically modified foods getting us in this predicament to begin with.
    And that brings up the point that they say that wheat grass should be okay for celiacs to consume since the grass is “too young” to yet have seeds. I bought a gluten free green powder one time because of these claims, but it made me sick anyway so I don’t trust them.

  • Christina

    Dec 14th, 2012

    Absolutely not. It is frightening how much tampering is going on with our food supply.

  • I would EAT this all day long! In fact, I hope it happens soon. I feel that all the people saying “no” are as paranoid as the gun nuts.

  • Interesting idea…. I’d certainly be curious but kind of believe we were never really engineered to eat grains anyway!

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts! It certainly sounds from speaking to various gluten free-ers about this that most people don’t like the sound of this at all. It will be interesting to see if it ever becomes a reality..

  • Ellington

    May 14th, 2013

    I would LOVE for this to happen. I found this by searching for GM gluten free wheat. Those who demonize everything GM should remember that every living thing is the result of millions of mutations since time began. Yes gluten is the result of a *natural* genetic modification. Some millenia ago, a plant’s DNA was mutated by natural radioactivity or UV rays, giving it the code to make a new protein. That protein helped protect its seeds by mildly poisoning mammals such as rodents, so the DNA sequence thrived and became widespread. All organisms are ‘unnatural’ i.e. they don’t normally exist outside of Earth’s special conditions and special chain of events including millenia of genetic mutation. Just because a plant has a gene doesn’t mean it’s right – it’s just chance. If human-guided GM can remove this poison, all the better.

  • When you stated that “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” you pointed out to everyone who knows about the science of GMOs that you do not know what you are speaking about. There is no genetically modified wheat approved for commercial sale anywhere in the world at this time, nor has there been. There are eight crops that have been approved in the US for GM counterparts to be planted and wheat is not on that list. The list is corn, soy, canola, papaya, squash, cotton, sugarbeets, and alfalfa. That is it. Also, the first case of a disease that resembled Celiac disease was found in the first century C.E., so the disease hasn’t just popped into existence in modern times. Rather, our medical technology is better at diagnosing it. This wheat will provide an option for people who want these products in their lives, why should you take that option away from them? My dad has CD and is sad about the foods he had to give up, if science can allow him to have them back safely, they should do so.