Chinese scientists have developed the world’s first golden scallop in what they say could be a major advancement in reducing global vitamin A deficiency.
The new variety of the popular seafood gets its gilded colour from carotenoids, organic pigments which can help stimulate vitamin A production in humans.
Golden scallops have carotenoid levels ten times that of their less colourful cousins, according to Zheng Huaiping, who led the team who created them at Shantou University.
The World Health Organisation estimates that more than a million people, mostly children, die from vitamin A shortage every year. Many who survive are left blind or otherwise disabled.
Scientists have long believed that the best way to combat deficiencies is to increase the amount of carotene in people’s diet.
Many previous efforts have focused on genetically engineering existing crops, such as the Golden Rice Project, which boosted the amount of carotene in the Asian staple.
However, fear over genetically modified foods led many in developing nations to shy away from eating golden rice.
The Shantou researchers said their scallop will not suffer from the same problem, as it was created from artificial selection, not genetic engineering.
Golden scallops are now being produced in aquatic farms in Guangdong province.
But price may be a problem.
Due to their colour, golden scallops have been in demand since they hit markets, with their price being pushed over that of regular scallops.
Most people with vitamin A deficiency are poor, unlikely to be able to buy the seafood equivalent of a golden iPhone.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Could golden scallops replace GMO rice as best weapon in fight against vitamin A deficiency?