CRISPR’s latest achievement? Taking the gluten out of wheat

crispr gene editing low gluten 23646155 l
Lightwise/123RF
Avoiding gluten may be about to get a whole lot easier — and it’s all thanks to CRISPR gene editing. That’s because a team of researchers at the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture in Cordoba, Spain have used the technology to eliminate the majority of the gliadins (the gluten proteins which cause most of the gluten intolerance issues for people with celiac disease) in wheat.

“Gluten proteins, and specifically gliadins, are major [factors] responsible of triggering celiac disease in genetically predisposed individuals,” Dr. Francisco Barro Losada, the geneticist whose team carried out the research, told Digital Trends. “There are many gliadin genes in the grain of wheat, which makes it impossible to obtain gliadin-free wheat lines using classic breeding methods. Gene editing by CRISPR/Cas allow the introduction of mutations in specific genes, and shutting down [of] those genes. In this work, we were able to mutate 35 out of 45 gliadin genes in bread wheat, and reduce wheat toxicity up to 85 percent. This is an unprecedented application of CRISPR/Cas technology. The low-gluten, transgene-free wheat lines described in the work constitute an unprecedented advance, and the resultant lines provide excellent source material for plant breeding programs to introgress the low-gluten trait into elite wheat varieties.”

Barro Losada points out that at present the resulting wheat isn’t (yet) suitable for celiac disease patients — since it still contains some gluten, even though this is at a lower quantity. However, the wheat could still be used to prepare low gluten foods for those who wants to reduce their intake of gluten. Because there is a sizable group of people able to tolerate only low amounts of gluten, this could be a major benefit to them.

“We are working now with the gliadin genes still present in these lines,” Barro Losada continued. Specifically, the team hopes to be able to disable the remaining 10 genes to make sure that no gliadin proteins are produced. Should all go to plan, and provided that this is deemed to be safe through the proper channels, hopefully it won’t be long before a whole new range of gluten-free products appear on grocery store shelves everywhere.

A paper describing the work was recently published in Plant Biotechnology Journal.

Health & Fitness

JLABS injects some tech into the medical industry

Innovating health care is expensive, risky, and complicated legally. One company is trying to remove these barriers with clever and altruistic approach.
Emerging Tech

Watch this lab-grown heart tissue beat just like the real thing

A team of researchers in Germany have used stem cells to create a lab-grown human heart tissue which actually beats, as well as responding to drugs in the same way as the real thing.
Computing

Need to combine a PDF? Here's how to get it done on both Windows and Mac

Sometimes juggling multiple files at once is more of a hassle than a convenience, especially when a single file would do. This quick guide will teach you how to combine PDF files on Windows, MacOS, or with online tools.
Smart Home

How to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner in an Instant Pot

We collected some of our favorite recipes and created an Instant Pot Thanksgiving dinner guide. Here’s how to ditch the oven and cook your entire Thanksgiving Dinner in an Instant Pot.
Emerging Tech

Stronger than steel, thinner than paper, graphene could be the future of tech

Since its discovery, graphene has set the research world on fire. What exactly is it, though, and what could it mean for the future of tech? Here's everything you need to know about what could be the next supermaterial to take center stage.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX makes rocketry look easy, sticks yet another Falcon 9 landing

SpaceX is due to perform its latest Falcon 9 rocket launch and landing on November 15 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Here's how you can watch the proceedings live.
Emerging Tech

In a weighty decision, scientists prepare to redefine the kilogram

Metrologists are meeting at the General Conference on Weights and Measures in Versailles to vote on whether to redefine the kilogram as a constant that can be observed in the natural world.
Photography

See the National Forests like never before in these awe-inspiring drone videos

What's the difference between a National Park and a National Forest? Drones. With no ban on drones in National Forests -- at least, not yet -- filmmakers have a way to capture the immensity of these locations with stunning results.
Emerging Tech

Google’s balloon internet is coming to Kenya in 2019

In order to bring the internet to those who lack it, a company called Loon is launching balloons into the stratosphere. From more than 12 miles up, these balloons beam connectivity over a large area on the ground.
Emerging Tech

Hikers missing on Mount Fuji could soon find a drone buzzing above their heads

Hikers who go missing while climbing Japan's highest mountain could soon find a drone buzzing above their head. A new system using the flying machines has been set up on Mount Fuji for future search-and-rescue missions.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk receives FCC approval to launch over 7,500 satellites into space

Not surprisingly, SpaceX is thinking big with Starlink, its space-based global broadband network. This week, the company received FCC approval to launch 7,518 satellites into a low-Earth orbit for its satellite internet service.
Cars

The world’s first 3D-printed titanium wheels are so intricate they look fake

HRE Performance Wheels and GE Additive have teamed up to create the world's first 3D-printed titanium wheels. They are not only impressively durable, but extremely lightweight as well.
Emerging Tech

Of all the vape pens in the world, these 5 are the best

Vaping concentrates has become significantly more popular, especially among those that use cannabis for medicinal purposes. But don’t use just any vape pen: we found these five devices to be our favorites in 2018.