Scientists Remove the Gluten Genes From Wheat


Oprah loves bread. We all love bread. But, as gluten-free diets become more mainstream, more and more people are realizing that even if they don't have celiac disease, they still suffer from gluten sensitivity (known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity). And that means no bread. (Or hundreds of other delicious foodstuffs, like beer, or pasta, or fried chicken, or even soy sauce.)

But, in what could be a huge boon for people with gluten issues, scientists in Spain have managed to remove the majority of the proteins that make gluten so troublesome from wheat, according to Digital Trends.

The study, published in the journal Plant Biotechnology, used CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology to drastically reduce the amount of gliadins—a protein in gluten that's particularly problematic for celiacs—in wheat. This technique could allow researchers to breed wheat strains that people with gluten-sensitivity are naturally less reactive to, leading to a naturally low-gluten flour.

Unfortunately, the technique probably won't help people with celiac disease just yet. The researchers were able to eliminate 35 of the 45 gliadin genes in wheat, but that's not enough to make wheat safe for celiacs. The genetic changes reduced reactivity to the gluten in the wheat by 85 percent, which means celiacs would still have an immune response to it.

But for people with less serious gluten-sensitivity issues who can still digest small amounts of gluten, the innovation would allow them to eat wheat products without the resulting stomach hell. And while the technology isn't there just yet, it's possible that celiac-safe wheat could be in our future. The researchers are still working on removing those 10 remaining gliadin genes, which would allow them to create gluten-safe wheat strains. Sadly, no amount of gluten-removing technology will help the poor souls with non-gluten wheat sensitivity.

[h/t Digital Trends]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Florence’s Plague-Era Wine Windows Are Back in Business

A wine window in Florence's Via Santo Spirito.
A wine window in Florence's Via Santo Spirito.

Many bars and restaurants have started selling takeout cocktails and other alcoholic beverages to stay in business—and keep customers safe—during the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, 17th-century Florentines are surely applauding from their front-row seats in the afterlife.

As Insider reports, a number of buildings in Florence had been constructed with small “wine windows,” or buchette del vino, through which vendors sold wine directly to less affluent customers. When the city suffered an outbreak of plague in the 1630s, business owners recognized the value of these windows as a way to serve people without spreading germs. They even exchanged money on a metal tray that was sanitized with vinegar.

Wine not?sailko, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Things eventually went back to normal, and the windows slowly fell out of fashion altogether as commerce laws evolved. This year, however, they’ve made a comeback. According to Food & Wine, there are currently at least four in operation around Florence. Osteria delle Brache in Piazza Peruzzi is using its window to deliver wine and cocktails, for example, and the Vivoli ice cream shop, a go-to dessert spot since 1929, is handing out sweet scoops and coffee through its formerly dormant aperture.

Apart from the recent resurgence of interest, the wine windows often go unnoticed by tourists drawn to the grandeur of attractions like the Uffizi Gallery and the Florence Cathedral. So in 2015, locals Matteo Faglia, Diletta Corsini, and Mary Christine Forrest established the Wine Window Association to generate some buzz. In addition to researching the history of the windows, they also keep a running list of all the ones they know of. Florence has roughly 150, and there are another 100 or so in other parts of Tuscany.

They’re hoping to affix a plaque near each window to promote their stories and discourage people from defacing them. And if you want to support their work, you can even become a member of the organization for €25 (about $29).

[h/t Insider]