KSU and USA Researchers Make Gluten Breakthrough

By Ryan Duey

Researchers from Kansas State University have announced a significant breakthrough in the development of wheat-based foods with reduced gluten content.

Gluten, a protein prevalent in wheat, barley, and rye, triggers an immune response in individuals with celiac disease, leading to damage to the small intestine and its villi, crucial for proper nutrient absorption.

Collaborating with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Kansas Wheat, scientists from K-State’s Wheat Genetics Resource Center employed the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technique. Their focus was on diminishing the presence of two gluten-coding genes.

Eduard Akhunov, University Professor and Director of the Wheat Genetics Resource Center expressed surprise at the substantial reduction in immunotoxicity by 47-Fold following the editing of the genes. The researchers were successfully able to maintain the dough quality of the food while achieving lower toxicity levels.

Funding from entities such as Kansas Wheat, USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supported this research.

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