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One of the most talked about advances of our time is the ability to genetically engineer certain kinds of food. While this is huge progress for scientists in agriculture, it raises concerns for the people who eat these "new" foods. The question arises: Will these genetically engineered foods cause reactions in allergic people?
Since the body reacts to certain amino acid sequences (proteins), when you have a food allergy, the body knows which sequences to "look" for. Because these genetically engineered foods consist of new proteins, scientists worry that some of these new proteins might be similar to certain common allergens.
For example, if a protein similar to nut proteins was transferred to genetically engineered potatoes, a person allergic to nuts could then have an unexpected reaction to the potato. For some, this is a very serious problem since their food allergies are life threatening.
Scientists are studying ways to solve this problem, including comparing all new proteins to existing common allergenic proteins.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|