RURAL MATTERS : UK Developing GM Rice to Feed Poor, Says BBC

The Birmingham Post (England), March 29, 2005 | Go to article overview

RURAL MATTERS : UK Developing GM Rice to Feed Poor, Says BBC


The GM food debate has flared up again as it was reported that UK scientists have developed a new geneticallymodified strain of ``golden rice'', which produces more beta-carotene than before.

The strain produces about 20 times as much as previous varieties.

The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, and the breakthrough could help reduce deficiency of the vitamin and childhoodblindness in developing countries, the report said.

The new variety has been developed at the UK laboratories of the biotechnology company Syngenta, it added. No one was available at the company last night to comment.

Friends of the Earth GM campaigner Clare Oxborrow said: ``One of our concerns is that the golden rice only addresses a very small part of a very big problem. Vitamin A deficiency and the blindnessthat results from it is a huge problem in developing countries.

``However, the cause of it is not just the fact that rice is deficient in vitamin A, it is that the underlying poverty and malnutrition causes people to be deficient in a whole range of nutrients, including vitamin A. …

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