Vitamin-A rich GMO banana, which could fight malnutrition in Africa, ready for field trials

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Scientists in Australia have created golden-orange-fleshed bananas rich in pro-vitamin A that could save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children who die from a deficiency of this vitamin every year.

The “biofortified” bananas were developed by taking genes from a species of banana from Papua New Guinea, which is high in provitamin A but only produces small bunches, and combined it with that of a Cavendish banana, the high-yielding species most people are familiar with. Provitamin A is converted by the body into vitamin A.

Their latest research findings are published in Wiley’s Plant Biotechnology Journal. In the study, the team presented results from their proof of concept field trial in Australia, in which they had aimed to achieve a specific level of provitamin A within the fruits produced. They found they had exceeded the target with one line of bananas more than doubling it.

The next stage will be to undertake field trials in Uganda to see if the results are replicated.

Researchers hope their bananas will be grown by Ugandan farmers by 2021.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Bananas: Scientists create vitamin-A rich fruit that could save hundreds of thousands of children’s lives