How Wheat was Genetically Hybridized

Between the 1940s and 1960s there was a Green Revolution in which the world’s agricultural production was vastly increased by the breeding and development of high yielding cereal grains such as maize, rice and wheat.

The changes to wheat began as far back as 1935, when genes for semi-dwarf wheat (Norin 10) were first bred by the Japanese Wheat Breeders. Dwarfing the wheat genes enabled greater seed production and as it grew to just two foot tall, instead of the usual four, made it less prone to wind damage. This was then further developed by Norman Borlaug, known as the father of the Green Revolution.

Through genetic crossbreeding, Borlaug developed disease resistant varieties of semi-dwarf, high-yield wheat.

By the 1970s this semi-dwarf wheat was already being successfully farmed in Mexico, India and Pakistan. By 1985 much of the Western world was producing semi-dwarf wheat and by 1997, 81% of the developing world had introduced this crop. And herein lays the problem for the world’s obesity and diabetes epidemic… It is by no coincidence that the rates of obesity started to rise rapidly during the 1980s.

Although the genetic crossbreeding of wheat was done to give greater yield and thus end world famine, it also changed components of the wheat protein (lectins) known as gliadin. All it took was altering a few components of the amino acids to change modern wheat into the appetite booster it is today.

©Diane Brown