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Crop Biotech Update

UK Scientists Develop Genome-edited Wheat to Reduce Cancer Risk from Bread

March 3, 2021
Acrylamide forms during bread baking and increases when bread is toasted. The darker the toast, the more of this carcinogenic compound it contains.

Scientists from the UK led by Rothamsted Research have used CRISPR-Cas9 to reduce a cancer-causing compound that is commonly found in a toast.

Acrylamide forms during baking and is further increased when the bread is toasted, and the darker the toast, the more of this carcinogenic compound it contains. Using genome editing, the research team has now developed a type of wheat that is less likely to produce acrylamide when baked.

The researchers used genome editing to reduce asparagine in wheat. Asparagine is the amino acid that is converted to acrylamide during baking and toasting. The researchers ‘knocked out' the asparagine synthetase gene, TaASN2, in wheat. They report that asparagine concentrations in the grain were substantially reduced in the genome-edited plants compared to un-edited plants, with one line showing a more than 90% reduction.

For more details, read the news article in Rothamsted Research.

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