Barriers to supplement distribution make ‘biofortified’ crops better solution to malnutrition

| | April 12, 2016
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That’s the title of Chapter 5 of Unnaturally Delicious, which discusses a variety of efforts to combat malnutrition in the developing world by breeding crops with higher vitamin and mineral content.

Providing vitamin supplements (think Flintstones Vitamins on a global scale) has indeed produced positive outcomes in many parts of the world. The approach, however, has proved less beneficial than the optimists had predicted. . . . .Supplements are a one-off, partial solution to an ongoing problem. . . .

. . . .

In this conundrum may lie a solution. If the staple crops of these farm families were more nutrient dense, some of the problems of malnutrition could be solved. Biofortification is the science of breeding crops to increase nutritional content.

While the efforts of Harvest Plus and other organizations have utilized conventional breeding techniques to create, for example, “high iron beans” in Rwanda, others have used biotechnology.  The most famous example is the work of Ingo Potrykus, who graciously answered some questions for me about golden rice, which contains a daffodil gene so that the rice produces beta carotene (which the body converts to vitamin A).

Read full, original post: Growing Flintstones

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