After more than a decade of rigorous scientific testing and extensive research trials amid opposition by anti-GMO groups, Golden Rice is moving closer to the marketplace in the Philippines.
If an application for a biosafety permit is approved, the much-awaited vitamin A-enriched rice variety may ultimately find its way onto the dining tables of Filipino families and help address the health problems associated with vitamin A deficiency.
Based on documents submitted by PhilRice and IRRI [International Rice Research Institute], GR2E [Golden Rice] was developed using recombinant-DNA techniques (a method of genetic engineering) to increase the amount of pro-vitamin A (mainly beta-carotene) in the rice endosperm, which is then converted in the body to vitamin A.
“In 2006, IRRI and its partners began working with a new version of the Golden Rice trait that produces significantly more beta-carotene than the 1999 prototype, and it is this version of Golden Rice that is still under development and evaluation,” according to the email from IRRI officials.
“Golden Rice can be commercially released as a complementary food-based approach to existing vitamin A deficiency interventions only after passing all required tests and regulations and shown to improve vitamin A status. A sustainable delivery program will ensure that Golden Rice is acceptable and accessible to those most in need.”
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