Gluten-free diet is a new trend followed by many health conscious
individuals. However, this diet is designed for people with celiac disease,
or those who cannot tolerate a certain type of gluten in their digestive
system. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and other related
species, acts as glue when cooked or baked that holds breads and cakes
together as they rise. The specific type of gluten responsible for causing
adverse reactions are called gliadins.
Francisco Barro from the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture in Cordoba,
Spain, and colleagues, used genetic-engineering to remove 90 percent of the
gliadins in wheat. They added genes that stop the production of the
proteins. To prevent the wheat from making gliadins again, they knocked out
35 out of the 45 genes involved using CRISPR gene-editing.
Though the resulting wheat cannot be used in baking sliced loaf breads
because of less gluten content, it is good enough for making baguettes and
rolls. The GM wheat is currently being tested in 30 celiac patients from
Mexico and Spain and so far the results are very encouraging