GMOFORUM.AGROBIOLOGY.EU :  Phorum 5 The fastest message board... ever.
Goto Thread: PreviousNext
Goto: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Checkbiotech: Golden Rice fully licensed to India
Posted by: DR. RAUPP ; madora (IP Logged)
Date: July 09, 2005 08:25AM ; ;

India will receive the full production transfer of GM Golden Rice from
Switzerland, five years after the strain was engineered to help combat
blindness and disease in Asia, writes Claire Johnston, July 2005.

Golden rice has attracted much attention because it has been developed to
contain building blocks for vitamin A. The prospect of offering daily doses
of key nutrients to millions of Asians in their staple food has excited both
researchers and governments world-wide.

Golden Rice is a transgenic variety of rice, which has genes for the
synthesis of b-carotene. These genes are taken from the garden favourite
Narcissus pseudonarcissus (daffodil) and inserted into the genome of a
temperate strain of rice.

The grain got its name because it glows with the golden colour of
beta-carotene, the yellow-orange compound that gives carrots their colour
and the world's most common source of vitamin A.

The Genetically Modified (GM) Golden Rice is being offered free to India
where vitamin A deficiency causes blindness in up to 500,000 children each
year, according to World Health Organisation figures.

British scientists have also developed a new genetically modified strain of
sunflower-yellow, vitamin-enriched rice for free transfer to countries like
India in the hope it will prevent millions of children in the developing
world from going blind. The new variety of so-called "golden rice" produces
20 times more beta-carotene than previous varieties of the grain, which was
first created five years ago in a Swiss laboratory as a triumph of

The news however raises the complex issue of genetic modification of plants
for the benefit of poor countries. Such developments offer cheaper or more
plentiful supply of key nutrients than current sources, however they also
face safety concerns and consumer resistance to genetic engineering.

The original golden rice has not yet been grown in field trials in Asia,
although the firm says that public rice research institutions in the
Philippines, Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, China and Indonesia are in various
stages of developing locally adapted varieties.

Greenpeace has criticised the lack of information given on the
bioavailability of beta-carotene from the rice in the body, noting that the
original variety was also designed to increase intake of this nutrient but
children could not get their daily requirement from eating normal quantities
of rice.

It adds that several other approaches to solve vitamin A deficiency have
been shown to work efficiently and the Golden Rice project is likely to
distract the necessary public awareness of solutions like vitamin A
supplementation and political efforts against malnutrition.

However scientists are ready to try out an improved version of the
genetically modified rice aimed at curbing blindness among children.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Indian council of
Agricultural Research (ICAR) signed a work plan to collaborate in rice
research, focusing on genetic enhancement in terms of yield and quantity.

At present, the ICAR is concentrating on two varieties of rice fortified
with iron and Vitamin A. The emphasis of the research is on enriching rice
grain with iron and zinc through fertilizer use to improve nutrition. They
are also working on the development of rice-resistant varieties for
drought-prone environments.

In Asia, the average person eats rice two or three times a day and it also
has become a staple food in many African countries. Milled white rice
contains essentially no beta-carotene and unmilled brown rice contains a
very small amount.


Posted to Phorum via PhorumMail

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.