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Scientists develop obesity-combating bread wheat

By Oliver Nieburg+

28-Nov-2012

Researchers claim this is the first non-GM method to significantly raise amylose content
Researchers claim this is the first non-GM method to significantly raise amylose content

Researchers have developed modified bread and durum wheat that they claim could combat obesity and diabetes using a non-genetically modified technology known as ‘TILING’.

They say TILING (Targeting Induced Local Lesions in Genomes) can create new wheat varieties with increased levels of resistant starches with amylose, a polymer linked to a lower glycemic responses.

A lower glycemic response means that carbohydrates are released more slowly.

The research was conducted by Slade et al. from Arcadia Biosciences and was published in BMC Plant Biology journal.

Non-GM method

“With the rise in human health concerns such as obesity and diabetes, there has been an increasing interest in altering starch composition in cereal grains to raise the proportion of resistant starch,” said the researchers.

“…To our knowledge, this is the first report of a non-GM bread wheat line with amylose content increased to 55% and resistant starch content increased to 5.4%,” they said.

The scientists used TILING to identify genetic variations in wheat and mutations in the starch which they bred to develop high amylose durum and bread wheat.

TILING is a form of advanced mutation breeding that they say is considered a non-GM technology.

Other methods

In 2006, Limagrain created a genetically modified wheat variety with more resistant starch than regular wheat that it said would reach the market in around five years.

It claimed that its GM-method could increase amylose levels from about 25% to 70%.

Last year, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a positive opinion for a claim that resistant starch can reduce post-prandial glycaemic and insulinaemic responses when replacing digestible starches in high carbohydrate baked goods by at least 14%.

However, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) did not approve additional claims that resistant starch gives 'digestive health benefits' and 'favours a normal colon metabolism’.

Study:

BMC Plant Biology 2012, 12:69
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2229/12/69
‘Development of high amylose wheat through TILLING’
Authors: Ann J Slade, Cate McGuire, Dayna Loeffler, Jessica Mullenberg, Wayne Skinner, Gia Fazio, Aaron Holm, Kali M Brandt, Michael N Steine, John F Goodstal and Vic C Knauf

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