Golden Rice

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Golden Rice is a variety of rice that has been genetically engineered to produce beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A.

According to its proponents, "The golden rice, produced in 1999 by a team of scientists, was touted as the rice that could save a million kids a year."[1] This estimate is based on World Health Organization (WHO) statistic that vitamin A deficiency causes 250,000 to 500,000 children to go blind each year and that it also "compromises the immune systems of approximately 40 percent of children under the age of five in the developing world, greatly increasing the risk of severe illnesses from common childhood infections."

Opponents point out that one must eat an inhuman amount of Golden Rice each day in order to consume the required amount of vitamin A.

As of 2011, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is conducting a field test of Golden Rice 2, which was created by breeding the original golden rice with a rice variety called IR64.[2]

ProVitaMinRice Consortium

In July 2005, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave Albert Ludwigs Universitat a grant of $11,958,760 "to improve the nutritious value of rice by genetic fortification with vitamins, minerals and proteins."[3] In the project, Dr. Peter Beyer at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg, Germany is leading "an international, collaborative effort called the ProVitaMinRice Consortium." The group seeks to "stack multiple micronutrient and bioavailability traits into Golden Rice."

"The consortium's members are developing new varieties of rice with increased levels or bioavailability of pro-vitamin A, vitamin E, iron, and zinc as well improved protein quality and content. As their platform, the consortium's researchers are using Golden Rice, which has been genetically engineered to produce and accumulate pro-vitamin A in the grain, and are working with novel transgene-based technologies to enhance the availability of the target nutrients. The project plans to incorporate the new rice lines as well as Golden Rice into ongoing breeding and seed delivery programs for developing countries, and to make the products freely available to low-income farmers in the developing world."[4]

Collaborators include:[5]

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