Wheat is different from 80 years ago

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From Mr Michael Quinlan.

Sir, Like Tyler Brûlé (“Doctor, I’m allergic to fussy eaters”, Fast Lane, December 15), I have found remarkable the increase in the number of people claiming to suffer gluten intolerance.

Rather than rant about imagined allergies, I found this had interested researchers as well. As a species we have had some six millennia to adapt to wheat, which did not change much in that time. Recent biological research shows intensive breeding for greater yield has made wheat very different from what it was 80 years ago. It is suggested many of us are not able to adapt to these rapid and recent changes.

But it doesn’t end there. Up to now, most of the change has been achieved by traditional breeding methods and not by GM. Like many people, I am concerned that far more wholesale changes being wrought by GM will cause far deeper and more widespread health issues.

As with meat and poultry, the issue is overpopulation and the resultant ill-considered pressure for more and cheaper food.

Michael Quinlan, Monaco

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