Genetically modified wheat
Genetically modified wheat is wheat that has been genetically engineered by the direct manipulation of its genome using biotechnology. As of 2017, no GM wheat is grown commercially, although many field tests have been conducted.
Wheat is a natural hybrid derived from interspecies breeding. It is theorized that wheat's ancestors (Triticum monococcum, Aegilops speltoides, and Aegilops tauschii, all diploid grasses) hybridized naturally over millennia somewhere in West Asia, to create natural polyploid hybrids, the best known of which are common wheat and durum wheat.
Interspecies transfer of genes continued to occur in farmers fields during the shift from the Paleolithic diet to the diet adopted by humans following the Neolithic Revolution, or first green revolution. During the transition from a hunter-gatherer social structure to more agrarian societies, humans began to cultivate wheat and further transform it for their needs. Thus, the social and cultural roots of humans and the development of wheat have intertwined since before recorded history.
This process resulted in various wheat species that are grown for specific purposes and climates. In 1873 Wilson  cross-pollinated rye and wheat to create triticale. Further transformations using cytogenic hybridization techniques enabled Norman Borlaug, father of the second Green Revolution, to develop wheat species (the semidwarf varieties) that would grow in harsh environments.
Recombinant DNA techniques were developed in the 1980s, work began on creating the first transgenic wheat, coincident with the third Green Revolution. Of the three most important cereals in the world (corn, rice and wheat), wheat was the last to be transformed by transgenic, biolistic methods in 1992, and by Agrobacterium methods in 1997. Unlike corn and rice, its widespread use in the human diet has faced cultural resistance.
Field trials and approvals
As of 2013, 34 field trials of GM wheat have taken place in Europe and 419 have taken place in the US. Modifications tested include those to create resistance to herbicides, create resistance to insects and to fungal pathogens (especially fusarium) and viruses, tolerance to drought and resistance to salinity and heat, increased and decreased content of glutenin, improved nutrition (higher protein content, increased heat stability of the enzyme phytase, increased content of water-soluble dietary fiber, increased lysine content), improved qualities for use as biofuel feedstock, production of drugs via pharming and yield increases.
Monsanto's MON 71800
The transgenic wheat that was furthest developed was Monsanto's MON 71800, which is glyphosate-resistant via a CP4/maize EPSPS gene. Monsanto received approval from the FDA for its use in food, but withdrew its EPA application in 2004, so the product was never marketed. It also received approval for use as food in Colombia.
Studies conducted by Monsanto showed that its nutritional components are equivalent to nontransgenic commercially available wheat, and animal studies that have used MON 71800 for feed have confirmed this. Environmental Risk assessments have been conducted by Monsanto, and government regulatory agencies have approved its use in food;
However, farmers were worried about the potential loss of markets in Europe and Asia due to public refusal of the end-product, so Monsanto withdrew its EPA application for Roundup-Ready Wheat.
The Argentina-based company Bioceres developed a genetically modified wheat variety claiming to withstand drought while providing farmers with high yields. But as of 2019 this GM variety isn't approved yet because of risks for trade: export markets may not accept it.
Escape of GM wheat seed
In 1999 scientists in Thailand claimed they discovered glyphosate-resistant wheat in a grain shipment from the Pacific Northwest of the United States, even though transgenic wheat had never been approved for sale and was only ever grown in test plots. No one could explain how the transgenic wheat got into the food supply.
In May 2013 a strain of genetically-engineered glyphosate-resistant wheat was found on a farm in Oregon. Extensive testing confirmed the wheat as a variety – MON71800. The wheat had been developed by Monsanto but never been approved or marketed after the company had tested it between 1998 and 2005. The unexplained presence of this type of wheat presents a problem to wheat growers when buyers demand GMO-free wheat. Japan subsequently suspended import of soft white wheat from the United States. A Kansas farmer sued Monsanto over the release, saying it had caused the price of wheat grown in the US to fall. Monsanto suggested that the presence of this wheat was likely an act of sabotage. On Jun 14, 2013, the USDA announced: "As of today, USDA has neither found nor been informed of anything that would indicate that this incident amounts to more than a single isolated incident in a single field on a single farm. All information collected so far shows no indication of the presence of GE wheat in commerce." As of August 30, 2013, while the source of the GM wheat remained unknown, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan had all resumed placing orders, and the disruption of the export market was minimal.
The investigation was closed in 2014 after the APHIS had exhausted all leads but had not found any evidence that the wheat had entered commercial supply.
The regulation of genetic engineering concerns the approaches taken by governments to assess and manage the risks associated with the development and release of genetically modified crops. There are differences in the regulation of GM crops between countries, with some of the most marked differences occurring between the USA and Europe. Regulation varies in a given country depending on the intended use of the products of the genetic engineering. For example, a crop not intended for food use is generally not reviewed by authorities responsible for food safety.
- Wrigley, Corke & Walker 2004, p. 330
- Wrigley, Corke & Walker 2004, p. 323
- Nelson 2001, p. 144
- Wilson 1876, p. 286
- Jones & Shewry 2009, table on p.4
- Plant Genetics/Genomics: Crops and Models Vol. 7: Genetics and Genomics of the Triticeae. Feuillet, C. and Muehlbauer, G. (eds.) p. 372
- Jones & Shewry 2009, p. 273
- "Wheat at Forefront of Battle Over Genetically Modified Organisms". Theitem.com. Archived from the original on 20 January 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Staff, GMO Compass. Last updated June 2010. GM Wheat
- Avise 2004, p. 47
- "Production of Transgenic Wheat (Triticum aestivum) Plants with Insect-resisting gene via Three Optimized Genetic Transformation Systems". Latest-science-articles.com. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
- Picket, John (2 May 2012) Respect the need to experiment with GM crops New scientist, Retrieved 2 May 2012
- Heller 2003, p. 41
- "You reap what you sow: field trial with genetically modified wheat". Agroscope.admin.ch. 3 February 2009. Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Kempken, F. and Jun, C. (eds.).Genetic Modification of Plants: Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry.(2010) p. 291
- Lal et al. 2004, p. 13
- Hamaker 2008, p. 466
- Heller 2003, p. 49
- Norero, Daniel (28 August 2015). "Gluten-free GM wheat can help celiac patients". Biology Fortified. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
- Avise 2004, p. 65
- Allan K. Ayella; Harold N. Trick; Weiqun Wang. "Enhancing lignan biosynthesis by over-expressing pinoresinol lariciresinol reductase in transgenic wheat". 51 (12). Molecular Nutrition & Food Research: 1518–1526. Archived from the original on 2013-01-05. Cite uses deprecated parameter
|dead-url=(help); Cite journal requires
- Jansson, J., Elsas, J., and Bailey, M. Tracking Genetically-Engineered Microorganisms. (2000) pp. 94–95
- Hamaker 2008, p. 102
- Heller 2003, p. 47
- Bailey, Ronald. "Anti-Biotech Superstition Being Beaten Back in Europe?" Reason, 21 July 2011.
- Avise 2004, p. 62
- Staff, USDA Economic Research Service. Last updated: January 24, 2013 Wheat Background
- "Petitions for Determination of Nonregulated Status". USDA. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
- Regalado, Antonio. "These are not your father's GMOs". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
- Heller 2006, p. 36
- "Biosafety Clearing-House Living Modified Organism identity database". Bch.cbd.int. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
- Obert J.C., et al. (2004) "The composition of grain and forage from glyphosate tolerant wheat MON 71800 is equivalent to that of conventional wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)." J.Agric Food Chem. 2004 Mar 10:53(5):1375-84
- Kan, C. A. and Hartnell, G. F. (2004) "Evaluation of broiler performance when fed Roundup-Ready wheat (event MON 71800), control, and commercial wheat varieties" Poultry Science, Vol 83, Issue 8, 1325–1334
- "The Center for Environmental Risk Assessment database". Cera-gmc.org. 30 June 2005. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
- "U.S. Food and Drug Administration Biotechnology Consultation Note to the File BNF No. 000080". Cera-gmc.org. 18 January 2001. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Network of Concerned Farmers, Submission on APPLICATION A524 FOOD DERIVED FROM HERBICIDE-TOLERANT WHEAT MON 71800". Non-gm-farmers.com. Archived from the original on 10 January 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Michael Hopkin for Nature News. 11 May 2004 Monsanto scrubs transgenic wheat: Farmers' fears spell doom for project worth millions
- "WestBred Sale Could Change Wheat Industry". Foodmanufacturing.com. 25 September 2009. Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Thomas Kutty Abraham (6 August 2010). "Monsanto-backed Mahyco Plans India's First GM Wheat". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on May 21, 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
- Gilbert, Jonathan (13 March 2019). "Drought-Stricken Wheat Belts Offered a Thorny Solution From Argentina". Bloomberg. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
- Hannelore Sudermann for the Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA). October 14, 1999 Genetically Altered Wheat Flagged – Thailand Detects Shipment Not Cleared for Commercial Sales
- Staff (June 14, 2013). "Genetically modified wheat investigation". Oregon Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- Reuters (2013-05-29). "Unapproved Monsanto GMO Wheat Found in Oregon". CNBC. Retrieved 2013-05-30.
- Allison M (June 1, 2013). "Japan's wheat-import suspension worries state growers". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2013-09-22. Retrieved June 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter
|deadurl=(help); Check date values in:
- Hegeman, Roxana (2013-06-04). "Monsanto sued over genetically modified wheat". USA Today. AP. Retrieved 2013-12-24.
- Ian Berry (June 21, 2013). "Monsanto Says Sabotage Is Likely in Wheat Case". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
- Staff, Food Safety News. June 17, 2013. GMO Wheat Found in Oregon Was Isolated Incident, Says USDA
- Associated Press. August 30, 2013. Source of GMO wheat in Oregon remains mystery
- Geimann, Steve (8 June 2019). "Genetically Engineered Wheat Found in Unplanted Washington Field". Bloomberg. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
- Nelson, Gerald C, ed. (2001). Genetically Modified Organisms in Agriculture: economics and politics. Academic Press. ISBN 9780080488868. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
- Jones, Huw D; Shewry, Peter R, eds. (2009). Transgenic Wheat, Barley and Oats: Production and Characterization Protocols. Humana Press. ISBN 9781588299611. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
- Lal, Rattan; Hobbs, Peter R; Uphoff, Norman; et al., eds. (2004). Sustainable Agriculture and the International Rice-Wheat System. CRC Press. ISBN 9780824754914. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
- Hamaker, Bruce R, ed. (2008). The Technology of Functional Cereal Products. CRC Press. ISBN 9781420066739. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
- Heller, Knut J, ed. (2003). Genetically Engineered Food: Methods and Detection. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9783527606450. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
- Heller, Knut J, ed. (2006). Genetically Engineered Food: Methods and Detection (2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9783527609390. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
- Avise, John C (2004). The Hope, Hype and Reality of Genetic Engineering: Remarkable Stories from Agriculture, Industry, Medicine and the Environment (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198037903. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
- Brunk, Conrad Grebel; Coward, Harold G., eds. (2009). Acceptable Genes?: Religious Traditions and Genetically Modified Foods. SUNY Press. ISBN 9781438428963. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
- Wilson, A Stephen (1876). "Wheat and Rye Hybrids". Transactions and Proceedings of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh. 12. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
- Wrigley, Colin W; Corke, Harold; Walker, Charles, eds. (2004). Encyclopedia of Grain Science. 3. Elsevier Academic Press. ISBN 9780127654904. Retrieved 2013-05-12.