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GM ‘super banana’ arrives in Iowa for testing

| | July 10, 2014
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Somewhere in Iowa, volunteers are earning $900 apiece by providing blood samples after eating bits of a banana kissed with a curious tinge of orange.

It’s the first human trial of a banana that’s been genetically engineered to contain higher levels of beta carotene, the nutrient that our body converts into vitamin A. Researchers want to confirm that eating the fruit does, in fact, lead to higher vitamin A levels in the volunteers’ blood.

Even if, as expected, the Iowa experiment confirms that beta carotene in the bananas does boost vitamin A levels in the volunteers’ blood samples, this doesn’t mean that the “super banana” really is a solution to the problem of vitamin A deficiency in Uganda.

Many regulatory and practical obstacles remain. For the banana to have any impact at all, governments would have to approve it, farmers would have to grow it, and ordinary people would have to be persuaded to eat orange-tinted bananas.

Read the full, original article: Globe-trotting GMO bananas arrive for their first test in Iowa

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