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More Information On Golden Rice
Golden rice is a variety of Oryza sativa rice produced through genetic engineering to biosynthesize beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, in the edible parts of rice. The research was conducted with the goal of producing a fortified food to be grown and consumed in areas with a shortage of dietary vitamin A, a deficiency which is estimated to kill 670,000 children under 5 each year.
Golden rice differs from its parental strain by the addition of three beta-carotene biosynthesis genes. The scientific details of the rice were first published in Science in 2000, the product of an eight-year project by Ingo Potrykus of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Peter Beyer of the University of Freiburg. At the time of publication, golden rice was considered a significant breakthrough in biotechnology, as the researchers had engineered an entire biosynthetic pathway.
In 2005, a new variety called Golden Rice 2, which produces up to 23 times more beta-carotene than the original golden rice, was announced. Although golden rice was developed as a humanitarian tool, it has met with significant opposition from environmental and anti-globalization activists.
The best single paragraph I’ve read on the stupidity and arrogance of opposition against Golden Rice.“The greens are frantic to stop golden rice because it undermines all their criticisms of GM crops. It is non-profit, free, nutrition-enhancing, and of more value to the poor than the rich: only farmers earning less than dollars 10,000 a year will be allowed to sell the seed on. …Meanwhile at least half a million, perhaps two million, children die each year from preventable vitamin A deficiency. On your conscience, Greenpeace.” ~ Matt Ridley