Professor Johnathan Napier, a leading pioneer in plant biotechnology who led
the development of plants that produce heart-healthy omega-3 fish oils, says
that "misinformation and over-regulation are stopping or slowing several GM
foods with the potential to save lives from making it to consumers."
In a paper published in Nature Plants, Professor Napier and fellow authors
wrote that using genetic modification (GM) to enhance the nutritional
composition of crops (for either direct human consumption or as animal feed)
has been recognized since the dawn of the GM era, with 'output' traits being
considered as distinct, if not potentially superior, to 'input' traits such
as herbicide tolerance and insect resistance. The authors point out that
while input traits have successfully been used and now form the basis of GM
agriculture, output trait GM crops is still lagging behind after 20 years.
Professor Napier points the example to Golden Rice. "The technology is
proven, the rigorous safety studies have been done, the nutritional research
shows Golden Rice is an excellent source of vitamin A - but still it is not
being produced, despite having been formally approved for feed or food use
in USA, Canada, and New Zealand and Australia," he said. He added that
Golden Rice has been stuck in development limbo for far too long now, and
not available to the people who would benefit from it.