Crop Biotech Update

Europe’s First Gene-edited Wheat Field Trial a Success

February 15, 2023

Rothamsted Research reported the completion of the field trial of the United Kingdom's gene-edited wheat. Researchers are now a step closer to bringing the wheat variety with lower asparagine levels to farmers and consumers.

The field trial exhibited that the gene-edited wheat's asparagine level was 50% lower than Cadenza, the variety used as control during the study. Asparagine in wheat grains are converted to acrylamide, a potential carcinogen that can cause cancer, when cooked. Flour made from the gene-edited wheat showed a reduction of acrylamide level by up to 45%. The field trial data supports the results previously gathered during the contained trial.

Controlling acrylamide levels is a major concern for food processors who need to comply to the evolving regulations on its presence in food without costly changes to production lines or reductions in product quality. Having a source of wheat flour that is low in asparagine will make a significant impact on dietary acrylamide intake for consumers.

Researchers are also hopeful that the gene-edited wheat will find its way faster into farmers' hands with the pending passage of the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill through Parliament.

Learn more about the field trial in Rothamsted Research.

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