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Will GM wheat be accepted if killer fungus wipes out global wheat supplies?

| | July 16, 2014
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

For bread fans everywhere—and millions of the world’s most impoverished people—the debate over genetically modified crops just got trickier. A killer fungus that attacks wheat crops could wipe out flour supplies as we know them.

Wheat has an archenemy by the name of wheat stem rust (originally named Ug99) that, like any true villain, knows how to avoid getting caught, according to National Geographic. Only 10 percent of wheat worldwide is resistant to this fungus, while the other 90 percent would likely rot and die in a matter of weeks after infection.

This is where GMOs come into play. Genetic engineering that pieces together a string of rust-resistant genes and inserts this as a block into a wheat chromosome is considered fast and reliable. Eating food that has been genetically modified, however, is a controversial issue to a public that remains unsure about the real effects of GMO crops.

For many of us, nothing is more welcoming than some warm bread on the dinner table, not to mention that for many people bread means survival. Now the question is: What are we going to do to help wheat survive too?

Read the full, original article: This Killer Fungus Could Force the Whole World to Go Gluten-Free

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