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Golden Rice

Context:

Recently, a court in the Philippines recently revoked biosafety permits for commercial propagation of genetically modified golden rice and Bt eggplant.

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

Golden Rice

Introduction:

  • Golden Rice is a genetically engineered variety of rice that contains beta carotene (provitamin A), a plant pigment that the body converts into vitamin A as needed. This pigment gives the rice its distinctive yellow-orange or golden color.

Development:

  • It is created through genetic engineering.
  • While ordinary rice does produce beta carotene, it is not present in the grain. Scientists used genetic engineering to introduce beta carotene into the grain, enhancing its nutritional value.
  • The beta carotene in Golden Rice, enabled by the addition of two new enzymes, is the same as that found in green leafy vegetables, yellow-colored vegetables, orange-colored fruits, and many vitamin supplements and food ingredients.

Cultivation:

  • Similar to regular rice, Golden Rice does not require any special cultivation practices and typically achieves the same yield and agronomic performance.

Economic and Nutritional Impact:

  • Golden Rice is expected to be comparable in cost and taste to regular rice. Its enhanced beta carotene content makes it a crucial tool in combating Vitamin A deficiency (VAD).
  • Vitamin A is vital for growth, development, and maintaining the health of the visual and immune systems.
  • VAD impairs the body’s resistance to diseases and infections, leads to blindness, and can be fatal if left untreated.

-Source: Down To Earth


June 2024
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