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Mohave County
May 2024
Volume 24 Issue 3
COMPLIMENTARY

Jun 2023 | Health | 0 comments

Genetic Alteration: The Key to Allergy-free Eggs?

Health | 0 comments

June 2023

In a new study, researchers genetically edited hens to remove the allergen protein ovomucoid, producing allergy-free eggs. Allergies occur when the body has a negative or abnormal reaction to a foreign substance.

The Prevalence of Egg Allergies

Egg allergies are common and may develop during early childhood, resulting in unpleasant symptoms and leading to negative health outcomes. Now, genetic specialists may be able to eliminate an egg allergy at its source.

A New Study on Genetically Editing Hens

A​ recent study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology explored the possibility of altering the genetics of hens to remove ovomucoid from eggs. The researchers found the method they used produced eggs that may be safe for specific uses among people with egg allergies.

Challenges for People with Egg Allergies

People with egg allergies can experience a variety of reactions, including vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Severe egg allergies may even trigger life threatening anaphylactic reactions.

Creating an Allergy-Free Egg: The Hypothesis

Researchers of the current study hypothesized that by removing the protein that causes the allergic reaction, you could create an allergy-free egg. These eggs could, therefore, be safer for people with egg allergies to consume.

Methodology of Genetically Editing Hens

Researchers investigated how genetically edited hens could produce ovomucoid-free eggs. Their method utilized transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs). These proteins aid in the cutting and, thus, alteration of DNA.

Results of the Study: Safe Eggs for Allergy Sufferers?

Researchers found that the eggs from genetically altered hens did not have ovomucoid or mutations of it. Their findings indicate the safety of these eggs as a creation that removes major allergy concerns.

Implications for Those with Egg Allergies

“For individuals with severe egg allergies, even trace amounts of egg in food or vaccines can trigger severe allergic reactions. With the development of OVM-knockout chickens, these individuals may be able to consume eggs and egg-derived products without fear of an allergic reaction”, said Dr. Tesfu.

Next Steps and Potential Challenges

W​e likely won’t see allergy-free egg-containing products on grocery store shelves yet. Experts may need to do further testing in this area to ensure safety. Moreover, potential consumer concerns about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) would need to be carefully managed.

Final Thoughts: The Promise of Gene Editing

The results demonstrate another practical application of gene editing that may ultimately lead to the public reaping significant benefits.

– Jessica Norris

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