Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Rootin Tootin Mutant Gluten

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Gluten is a protein found in wheat. People with celiac sprue suffer an immunologic attack on their intestinal lining when they eat gluten, and this can be serious. Some people without sprue are sensitive to gluten and eschew products containing it. Taking this latter condition at face value, the most logical explanation is that celiac sprue is a continuum, and gluten sensitive people who do not slough their intestinal linings have a milder case.

The solution: alter the antigenicity of gluten so that it can perform its role in the wheat and in delicious bagels but so that it does not trigger the immune response.

Occams razor suggests to me that it is likely just one epitope of the protein which is antigenic. If sprue could be caused by a variety of epitopes one should find sprue caused by other foods but no: only gluten. One could figure out which this was by using serum from a person with sprue and alter various epitopes of the gluten, figuring which one caused a lack of binding.

Then work on the DNA coding for that epitope, testing various amino acids a that site such that it no longer bound to sprue-producing immunoglobulins but could still function in the wheat.

Grow these engineered wheats. Make flour. Bake delicious muffins. And the world's gluten sensitive persons yearning to eat free can gobble up BUNGCO GMO glutenless products with impunity!

Next up: peanuts.

bungston, Apr 14 2017


       Up where ?   

       On second thoughts, don't answer that ...
8th of 7, Apr 14 2017

       This is actually a perfectly bakeable and sensible idea.   

       There are hundreds, if not thousands, of glutens in different grass species. I would guess that at least some of these will be non-allergenic, yet could repace wheat gluten straightforwardly.   

       The practical approach, therefore, would be to screen gluten homologues (or do I mean orthologs or paralogs? I never get it right) for immunogenicity. Then pick the non-immunogenic glutens which are the most similar to wheat gluten, then drop them into the wheat genome and see what you get.   

       This is one area where the US is likely to be ahead of Europe, since European governments tend to regard anything GM as having some sort of evil magic attached to it.   

       [EDIT. A quick bit of Wikipediaing tells me that gluten is actually a mixture of proteins; but the same principle applies.]
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 14 2017

       Baked, literally... Canada's way ahead of you--even US bakeries source their heritage grains from us... but I'm sure BungCo could improve upon it...   

       'Gluten' is made up of gliadin proteins, which cause celiacs grief, and glutenin protein, which, confusingly, does not.   

       The 1860s Canadian variety of Red Fife wheat (originally a varietal from Scotland, but 'finders keepers!') is about 65% glutenin and only about 34% gliadin, whereas modern production-boosted wheat contains only about 20% glutenin and 80% or more gliadin.   

       Red Fife appears to cause little to no reaction in the approx. 30% of the population who have gluten allergy or sensitivity. Neither does 1909 Marquis de Loiselle wheat, another Canadian strain from the prairies. True celiacs generally still take no chances with either strain, hence room for BungCo's research.
Sgt Teacup, Apr 14 2017


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