Hypoallergenic carrots on horizon
Researchers have identified genes in carrots that could help to reduce allergenicity. The allergenicity of several fruits and vegetables, including carrots, is increased by the expression of a single protein, PR-10 (pathogenesis-related protein), which is produced by plants in response to abiotic stress or pathogen attack. Researchers from Germany’s Justus Liebig University (Giessen) have identified two genes in carrots, Dau c 1.01 and Dau c 1.02, that express PR-10 isoforms. They produced transgenic carrots in which the genes were silenced using RNA interference (RNAi). Analytical tests showed that PR-10 accumulation was “highly reduced” in the transgenic carrots. In addition, allergic reactions of patients with carrot allergy were reduced when verified by skin pick tests using extracts from the transgenic carrots.