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Researchers Inch Closer To Developing Non-Allergenic Peanuts

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People allergic to peanuts may soon munch on these snacks without worries.

Researchers from the University of Western Australia have collaborated with a group of international experts, who have determined genes in peanuts that may help prevent humans from developing allergic reactions to them. Such an effect would be possible if the said genes were altered.

To identify the genes, the scientists first decoded the DNA of the peanuts.

Study Applications

The findings will help pave the way for a higher generation of crops and the more improved nutritional value of the peanuts.

The work is crucial to both the agricultural sector and the community of farmers.

"This discovery brings us that one step closer to creating peanuts that will have significant benefits globally," said lead study author Rajeev Varshney. He added these new peanuts will have more positive effects on health, given their enhanced nutritional value.

Peanuts And Peanut Allergies

Around the world, peanuts are substantial sources of nutrients and are among the most inexpensive crops. More than 100 countries grow peanuts, whose production rates reach about 42 million tons annually.

Despite the many health benefits of peanuts, not everyone can savor the legumes. In fact, peanuts may even cause some people to develop medical conditions.

In Australia, for example, allergies to peanuts are highly prevalent. The condition affects about 3 percent of the population and can even result in serious allergic attacks if not managed promptly.

The team soon hopes to change the genes determined in this research and examine the effects on the peanut production process called geocarpy. Such technique aims to develop new types of peanuts.

The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Photo: Dean Hochman | Flickr

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