Biotech Updates

Transformation of the US Bread Wheat ‘Butte 86' and Silencing of Gliadin Genes

May 27, 2011

Some complex proteins in wheat flour could cause food intolerances and allergies to individuals that consume wheat products. Thus, genetic engineering is used to study the functions of different flour proteins. However, only a few wheat cultivars can be transformed due to the lack of information available about the genes and proteins expressed in the grains of those cultivars.

Susan Altenbach and Paul Allen, researchers from the USDA Agricultural Research Service, made an extensive characterization of genes and proteins in the developing grain of US spring wheat cultivar Butte 86. The resulting proteome map was then used to pick the genes to be silenced to hinder the formation of omega-5 gliadins, which trigger food allergy wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (WDEIA).

Transformation was confirmed through PCR and analysis of proteins showed that the gliadins were either absent or reduced in transgenic plants compared to nontransgenic controls. This suggests that it is possible to alter the flour composition of wheat products using biotech wheat.

Complete paper published by GM Crops Journal is available at