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SBIR Phase I: Progeny Analysis Of A Chimera-Free Hypoallergenic Peanut


The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is to develop a hypo allergenic peanut (HAP) variety, which is expected to save human lives by preventing allergy-related deaths, reduce the incidence of peanut allergy, and increase security, comfort and peace of mind for those individuals sensitive to peanuts and their families, extended families, friends, schools, and restaurants. HAP also may reduce and/or eliminate the number of institutional lawsuits resulting from peanut allergy events, and reduce and/or eliminate the number of costly food recalls due to peanut contaminations. Reducing allergens may gain back the loss endured by the peanut market, improve the U.S. competitive edge on the international peanut market, and increase sales by 15% to 20% due to an increase market by restaurants, airlines and more. Food allergies cost the US $25 billion annually and peanut is a major contributor. HAP will provide a significant solution to peanut allergy with the potential to reduce the overall cost of food allergy. <br/><br/>The intellectual merit of this SBIR Phase I project is to produce a commercial prototype for a hypoallergenic peanut as a solution to the serious health concern nationwide for peanut allergy. In previous work, a HAP was developed by concomitant silencing of the genes coding for the three most potent peanut allergens Ara h 1, Ara h 2 and Ara h 3. The HAP was 2 to 85-fold reduced in allergenic potency, and the HAP trait was transmitted to several successive generations in field trials. However, some of the transgenic peanuts were found to be chimeric and to produce non-homogeneous population of seeds with variable levels of allergenic potency. To solve this problem, repetitive somatic embryogenic tissue was used to produce first generation chimera-free HAP (T0 plants). During this Phase I project, the progeny T1 plants will be analyzed using Southern blot and quantitative PCR to confirm the chimera-free status of the plants. Reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR, Western blot, sandwich ELISA and immunoCap assay will be performed to confirm the population of the progeny T2 seeds is homogenous and has undetectable levels of the targeted allergens. A commercial prototype variety for the hypoallergenic peanut will be identified and selected for further studies.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Dodo, Hortense
Ingateygen LLC
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