Bangladeshi rice scientists have advanced a beta carotene-rich rice to a varietal release stage, heralding a new era in fight against vitamin-A deficiency (VAD).
They said the wait is nearly over for release of Golden Rice, a long-touted remedy to VAD.
According to the World Health Organization's global VAD database, one in every five pre-school children in Bangladesh is vitamin A-deficient. Among the pregnant women, 23.7 percent suffer from VAD.
Upon receipts of positive outcome from two successive years of ‘confined’ field trials, the breeders at the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) have just gone for a final cycle of multi-location field trials and sought regulatory approval from the government for an ‘unconfined’ field test prior seeking variety release approval.
BRRI Senior Plant Breeder Dr M A Kader told UNB that in last Boro season they’ve got 10 to 12 μg/g (micrograms/gram) beta carotene in a BRRI dhan29 line genetically converted into Golden Rice, which should be enough to address half of rice-eating consumers’ daily deficiency of vitamin-A.
“This season (Boro) we’ve gone for ‘confined’ field trials in five different agro-ecological locations again. Besides, we’ve also sought permission for an open field trial prior starting the process of varietal release,” explained Kader, now overseeing the Golden Rice programme at BRRI.
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