While there seems to be an inexhaustible variety of foods that may trigger an allergic reaction, many of the allergens responsible are so called pan-allergens, or the same allergen that is present in many foods. For example, roughly 12 million are allergic to proteins present in shellfish. Another 3 million are allergic to peanuts or some other tree nut. One of the proteins responsible for some cases of peanut and nut allergies is germin. Sensitivity to germin can also result in allergic reactions to legumes and soy. LTP is responsible for allergies to drupe-like fruits, such as peaches and plums. Bet v 1 can cause allergic reactions to apples, celery, and cherries. Currently, more than 3 percent of American adults suffer from food allergies.

We sought to design and construct BioBrick-compatible RNA interference systems for targeted knockdown of pan-allergens expressed in the model system Arabidopsis thaliana. As part of our personalized, open-source iGarden, we envision a future where gardeners can order or design seeds for fruits and vegetables tailored to their specific allergy so that they can grow hypoallergenic foods that they can eat.