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Work on gluten free wheat

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Work on gluten free wheat

Sam Fujisaka | Apr 30, 2008 06:00 PM

Many Hounds are suspicious of science and biotechnology. One of the latest entries in the "CropBiotech Update" that I regularly receive describes work to develop gluten free wheat--something that various Hounds might appreciarte:

"WSU Receives Grant to Develop Gluten Free Wheat

The United States' National Institute of Health (NIH) has awarded Washington State University (WSU) a four-year $837,000 grant to develop novel wheat varieties that are free of gluten proteins. Gluten triggers inappropriate immune system responses in people affected with Celiac Disease. This genetic disease can create symptoms that range from diarrhea and cramps to nutrient malabsorption and malnutrition. One in every 100 or 200 Americans or 4 percent of Europeans are estimated to suffer from gluten intolerance. The only effective treatment is a lifelong gluten-free diet. Adherence to such diet is difficult, since gluten is also being used as a filler and binder in many non-food items such as medicines, vitamins and paper adhesives.

Scientists from WSU have previously discovered a lysine-rich barley mutant that lacks gliadin, the gluten component that triggers the disease. They hope to identify the mutation and use this to make gluten-free wheat varieties that are also rich in the essential amino acid lysine. WSU has partnered with Arcadia Biosciences, a Seattle-based biotech company, for the task."

Is this a good or a bad thing?

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