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GE “Golden Rice” To Combat Vitamin A Deficiency

“Golden Rice” To Combat Vitamin A Deficiency

By Marietta Gross - Scoop Media Auckland.

Scoop Report: Over 250 million people worldwide suffer from Vitamin A deficiency but scientists have found that GE "golden rice" is able to address symptoms such as infantile blindness. Scientists have genetically engineered a rice variety, so that it stores a large amount of a preliminary-stage vitamin A.

This enhanced form of the so called “Golden Rice” could be used to prevent a common after-effect to vitamin deficiency – infantile blindness.

A team of the biotechnology company Syngenta has developed this version of “Golden Rice”, reports the online-edition of the magazine “Nature Biotechnology”. This variant contains 23 times more beta-carotin than the previously developed type. Beta-carotene is also termed as “Provitamin A”, because it is transformed to vitamin A in the human body.

Rachel Drake from the British Jealott’s Hill International Research Centre in Bracknell and her colleagues added a corn gene to the genome of the rice gene. The coded protein in the rice plants produce provitamin A. According to the researchers the “Golden Rice” could satisfy a half of the daily needs of vitamin A.

A lack of fat soluble vitamin A, of which animal aliments consist, affects about 250 million people worldwide. According to a statement by the World Health Organization between 250,000 and 500,000 children go blind every year due to a vitamin-A-deficiency.

Syngenta supports the Humanitarian Project for Golden Rice and has announced to make their new sort available for further research.

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