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Allergen-free soybeans discovered

Two Chinese lines of soybeans do not contain the protein that causes most soy allergies, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The two lines have naturally occurring genetic mutations that do not contain the protein known as P34. The mutation was discovered by screening more than 16,000 soybean lines—100 lines per day for nine months—which are kept in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Soybean Germplasm Collection.

The two lines can be successfully crossed into other soybean lines "without any biotechnology-derived component," the researchers said.

"We are releasing this information with no patents so that companies and breeders involved with soybeans can incorporate these two lines as quickly as possible," said Theodore Hymowitz, emeritus professor of plant genetics at the crop science department at U of I. The USDA's Agricultural Research Service also participated in the project.

Approximately 6 percent to 8 percent of children and 2 percent of adults are allergic to soy products.

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