U.S. scientists have removed or reduced key proteins in peanuts believed to trigger peanut allergies, which can lead to potentially fatal anaphylactic shock.
The resulting peanuts are not genetically modified, but simply the result of conventional cross-breeding, BBC News reported.
The research, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is still in the early stages but could be a major breakthrough. It's believed that children who consume low-allergy peanuts would be less likely to become allergic to peanuts in the first place, according to Professor Soheila Maleki, who presented the findings at a meeting of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
"And people that are already allergic would need to have a much higher dose before they suffered a reaction," Maleki said, BBC News reported. "In the case of accidental ingestion, there would be much less of a reaction."
It's also possible that low-allergy peanuts could be used in immunotherapy, in which patients become desensitized by taking low doses of peanuts over a period of time.