Engineer My Carbs – Please!

Series:  The Benevolent Side of GMOs


Though I’ve been writing about good GMOs for awhile now, it still feels like an out and out coup every time I find a friendly GMO.  I just can’t get enough!     The seat I have claimed on the other side of the transgenic table grows more comfortable every day.   I feel like Julee K the bad ass over here.

Here’s a story out of Aarhus University in Denmark about barley and a gene switch-off technique that engineers a healthier carbohydrate.  Specifically, it describes a happy ending to the tale of two starches:  the first being that which breaks down rapidly in the gut and spikes our blood sugar, the second being the more health favorable kind that passes from the small to the large intestine, then moseys along until it is broken down by bacteria.

Who among us is not concerned about bad carbs and blook sugar spikes?  Seriously, this GM starch might even make the benevolent GMOs greatest hits album.

The story found on the university’s Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology webpage briefly explains the difference between amylopectin (fast starch) and amylose (slow starch).  Both genetic and biotech methods were used to switch off several genes at once to achieve the desired trait of a barley plant containing pure amylose, the first of its kind according to Janne Hansen, author of the article.  Enzymes were added to the starch so that a slower rate of digestion could be observed and confirmed.

The article reports that the next step is to conduct nutritional studies then eventually transfer the innovation to wheat, corn and rice.

Chalk one up for the Danes!

~Julee K @ Sleuth4Health/email:

Source Article

Photo Credit:  Net Efekt/Flickr

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