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[SANET-MG] allergen free soy suitable for organic production
Scientists achieve allergen-free soy breakthrough
09/05/2006- Researchers have isolated two Chinese soybean lines that can
grow without the primary protein linked to soy allergies in children and
The scientists say that the two lines will be given away to breeders
seeking to produce new varieties of allergy-free soybeans without
The breakthrough could help food makers tap the growing free-from food
market, which is set to double on the back of growing consumer concern
over health and well-being.
Market analyst Mintel says that the UK sector, which is being driven by
increased public awareness of food allergies and intolerance, has
already enjoyed sales growth of over 300 per cent since 2000.
In addition, because the newly identified lines occur naturally, they
can be successfully crossed into other soybean lines "without any
biotechnology-derived component," the researchers noted.
Crop scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and
the USDA-Agricultural Research Service's Donald Danforth Plant Science
Centre in St. Louis screened more than 16,000 soybean lines kept in the
USDA's National Soybean Germplasm Collection.
It was discovered that two soybean lines (PI 567476 and PI 603570A)
contained virtually identical genetic mutations that do not contain the
leading allergy-causing P34 protein, which consists of 379 amino acids.
"We are releasing this information with no patents so that companies and
breeders involved with soybeans can incorporate these two lines as
quickly as possible," said Theodore Hymowitz, emeritus professor of
plant genetics in the crop sciences department at the University of
Companies in Japan, Canada and across the United States have been
following the research effort, he added.
The research, which was funded primarily by the Illinois-Missouri
Biotechnology Alliance, went through two stages.
First, using a specially developed immunochemistry approach, Hymowitz's
post-doctoral assistant Leina M. Joseph examined 100 lines of soybeans
per day for nine months from the UI-based collection. Seeds were
crushed, treated and placed on a membrane for screening.
A second screening using stronger antibodies and protein gels was done
to confirm the absence of P34 in the two domestic lines.
After the two lines were isolated, seeds were sent to the Danforth
Centre for additional molecular analysis to determine why P34 was
absent. Six identical genetic mutations were found in each, indicating
the two lines may be related.
"The lack of the protein was confirmed by more-detailed two-dimensional
protein assays," said Eliot M. Herman, a lead scientist at Danforth who
probed the seeds with post-doctoral researcher Monica A. Schmidt.
"We then isolated the gene responsible for the lesion, and we found
there was a single significant change in the gene's sequence that likely
produced a protein which could not be made as a stable product."
Herman discovered P34 in the early 1990s and in 2003 had successfully
used a gene-silencing technique to create a soybean line in which P34
was 'knocked out.' However, because of public resistance to genetically
modified products researchers have been seeking a more traditional approach.
The findings will appear later this year in the journal Crop Science.
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