[Editor’s note: Sterling Ericsson is a biology focused science communicator with a degree in molecular biology.]
Traditional artificial breeding methods have been employed, resulting in the Vitamin A-enriched sweet potato 2016 World Food Prize and it has already seen great success in the 10 African countries it has been distributed to. … But there is still a lot of work to do. Especially since easy breeding of such changes takes decades to accomplish and was only possible with the sweet potato due to its already high amount of Vitamin A.
That’s where biotechnology steps in as another, faster method for making Vitamin A-enriched crops. However, a huge setback for the genetic modification effort has been anti-science actions against biotech, resulting in the holdup of Golden Rice deployment for over a decade at this point. Even though research on the project has been conducted since the early 1990’s and the creation of Golden Rice Version 2 was finished in 2005 (with a 23-fold increase in Vitamin A production), finally meeting 100% Vitamin A incorporation and uptake goals, there has still been no usage in any country around the world. Other than ongoing test plots, such as the one in the Philippines that was vandalized by eco-terrorism group Greenpeace in 2014, there has been no actual usage of Golden Rice for populations afflicted with VAD.
It is somewhat depressing to note [that] there has yet to be a single biofortified crop approved for public use anywhere, even though many are ready and waiting to be used.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Vitamin biofortification: Using biotechnology to improve nutrition