Friday, December 08, 2006

GM Crops: another “green revolution” or a danger?

Blogger News Network » GM Crops: another “green revolution” or a danger?: "The Helen Keller foundation estimates “between 250,000 and 500,000 children go blind from a lack of vitamin A in their diet, which also affects their growth, cognitive development and immune system. 70% of these children die within one year of losing their sight, and a total of 800,000 children every year from a lack of vitamin A.Supplementation with vitamin A capsules is the single most cost-effective health intervention according to the World Bank and other global health experts. It only takes two doses a year to prevent blindness – at a cost of approximately $1.

Yet even that small cost might be prohibitive to some countries, and other countries lack the infrastructure and personnel to give it out properly (too much vitamin A is toxic). And, of course, some children will not go to clinics, or their parents will refuse the medicine.One solution to this is a new genetically engineered rice, called golden rice because of it’s colour. “..Golden Rice is a transgenic variety of rice, which has genes for the synthesis of b-carotene (a vitamin A precursor). These genes are taken from the garden favourite Narcissus pseudonarcissus (daffodil) and inserted into the genome of a temperate strain of rice.” The rice has a golden color from the beta carotene (think carrots), and is being offered free to India where blindness from Vitamin A deficiency is common."

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