Aug
27
2009

Golden Rice and the Amazing Truth

Getting the Facts

Today we are all experiencing a global food crisis. Food prices are inflating, families are food poor. Some of the deaths due to hunger or hunger related causes can be avoided. Many children are malnourished but The most damaging micronutrient deficiencies in the world are the consequence of low dietary intake of vitamin A. In the world, the largest dietary eaten is rice, over 80 percent of the world's population depends on rice as their staple food. Although rice tastes awesome with chicken and with everything else, many people around the world do not get enough β-carotene (provitamin A, the form before vitamin A is converted) to help produce Vitamin A in what they are eating or able to afford to eat. Vitamin A is necessary, without Vitamin A our eyes would be unable to function properly. According to the World Health Organization, 250,000 to 500,000 children to go blind every year due to the lack of Vitamin A deficiency (VAD). Every year it has has claims the lives of 350 000 or more, people who are VAD become blind and 60% of those who become blind will die. 400 million rice-consumers may lead to fatal health problems, some are impaired vision; impaired epithelial integrity, exposing the affected individuals to infections; reduced immune response; impaired haemopoiesis (and hence reduced capacity to transport oxygen in the blood) and skeletal growth; and measles infection. MAP
MAPCourtesy Wikipedia

The science behind

Golden rice is a genetically modified (GM), it is made through genetic manipulation. The gene responsible for the yellow color like the daffodils is inserted into the rice genome, and causes rice to produce large quantities of β-carotene.

The purpose of golden rice was made to to produce B-carotene, In the location where people eat the most, the endosperm. β-Carotene is composed of two retinyl groups ( the animal form of Vitamin A, which is different from the plants who are able to perform photosynthesis for their Vitamin A), and is broken down in the the mucous membrane of the small intestine by B-carotene to retinal, a form of vitamin A. Carotene can be stored in the liver and body fat and converted to retinal when it is needed, thus making it a form of vitamin A for mammals like us. SCIENCE
SCIENCECourtesy Wikipedia

for more details on the science behind golden rice you can check out this website:

http://goldenrice.org/Content2-How/how1_sci.html

But Why Is This Not Happening?

But behind this great discovery and invention people are bound to have their own reason's why they would like it or not. Many have responded with Golden Rice with rage and the desire for those to stop making the golden rice. Many of whom wish for those who do have VAD to receive naturally grown food instead of humans modifying. Those who feel this way feels that other's deserve to eat real food instead of man made. How do you feel towards genetically modified food? Is it still food or something else? With this conspiracy going on the Golden Rice is being stored in a building in Europe because of those who angered about the Golden Rice. Not only do people feel that way other's also said that it will effect the economy worldwide, if golden rice keeps going around the world for free people will stop buying rice and the rice industry would fall apart and the two largest rice exporters ( Thailand and Vietnam ) economy would fall apart and possibly even worse.

My view on this is that Genetically modified food is still food and is made for the better. If we waited for naturally grown food to grow I think it will take way to long for it to be ready for animals and humans to eat, in the world the food consumption is rising and more people demanding food. For example, in 1985 the average Chinese
consumer ate about 20 kg (44 lb) of meat a year, and now consumes over 50 kg (110 lb). Genetically modified food can help feed those who need it. And I understand that there are many people in Europe who do not support GM food, but don't you think we should send food those people who are dying from hunger and save them as soon as possible?

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

bryan kennedy's picture

Great story, SHINee003. I'd never really hear about Golden Rice until I'd read it. I agree that GMO food are a pretty essential option to solving the global food issue. Most of the reading I've done on this subject suggests that we MUST increase yields to be able feed our growing world population. While it isn't the only way, scientific research into GMO foods is an important part of that solution.

posted on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 7:52am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I was under the impression that food prices were near historic lows? Though I wouldn't be surprised if conditioned varied from place to place.

posted on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 11:23pm
bryan kennedy's picture

Yeah, I think local issues do play heavily in any food availability story. Price fluctuations go along with that.

I'm not really up to speed on the current economic research on global food prices, but my reading of the new lately does lead me to intuit that prices are on the rise on the global scale. In my quick searching I found a few resources that back this up. Gene, what was driving your thinking? It would be cool to see where the researchers differ on this issue.

Rising costs felt at world's dinner tables
http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2008/01/19/business/20080119_PALMOIL.html

Food prices on the rise in India due to drought and other pressures.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125014689421528505.html

The International Food Policy Research Institute's articles on food prices. These seem to mostly focus on increasing food prices, or dealing with localized food price spikes.
http://www.ifpri.org/book-776/ourwork/researcharea/food-prices

One of the things that I think makes this issue so interesting and difficult to read about is that the scientific research is inexorably linked with economics as well as ethics. Food is a commodity that we can all agree that every human should have some access to. Although, economic pressures and scientific breakthroughs always affect that for better and worse.

posted on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 3:28pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Then its clear your not from Australia, where hundreds of farms are being bought out for mining and farms also losing to salinity. Making the price of one banana as high as $3 each

posted on Tue, 07/19/2011 - 9:05pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

keep in mind that all produce/food we eat now has been genetically modified a little one way or another. simple things like seedless watermelon, corn, carrots, all modified to look pretty/a certain way.

posted on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 3:48pm
Davis Jefferson's picture
Davis Jefferson says:

True, they may be modified, but they are freakin' delicious!!!!

posted on Tue, 09/01/2009 - 11:27am
SHINee003's picture
SHINee003 says:

Thank you bryan kennedy :O) Yes during my research many suggested to growing or making more field's, but it was only what they wanted, but I questioned why they wanted more fields when over half the land suitable for growing food is already decreasing due to growing cities. I know that many do not agree with my opinion but I think GMO food can help save many lives, global food crisis is happening everywhere and it is real.

posted on Tue, 09/01/2009 - 1:52pm
bryan kennedy's picture

It's interesting that you talk about "making more fields." We are actually working on a new exhibit here at the Science Museum of Minnesota about how land is used for agriculture. We are working on maps that help demonstrate that much of the arable land (land that can be used to grow crops) is actually already used for just that. In other words, even if we wanted to expand the amount of land that we devote to agriculture, we would quickly but up against a global limit.

posted on Tue, 09/01/2009 - 2:37pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Until now, I had no idea about this. This is truly astounding. Genetically modified food to help feed people and avoid blindness? This is the most astounding thing ever. I wish I had some now.

posted on Sun, 12/27/2009 - 7:00pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Dont forget though that introducing genetically modified food has it's consequences....it hasnt been tested for side effects...we dont know how this will effect people. Being genetically modified it is unstable. It is susceptible to mutations in the DNA sequence which could alter the outcome. It could reduce biodiversity in our environment as far as rice goes. It could lead to the creation of several new subspecies of rice which are both unfamiliar and unnatural. Unlike natural genetic material which consists of stable combinations of genes that have co-existed for billions of years, artificial constructs consists of combinations that have never existed, not in billions of years of evolution. Artificial gene-constructs are well-known to be structurally unstable, which means they tend to break and join up incorrectly, and with other bits of genetic material, resulting in new unpredictable combinations. There are many dangerous possibilities that are associated with the introduction of golden rice and these longer term consequences need to be considered. Surely there are better, more natural alternatives to modifying natures creations.

posted on Thu, 10/07/2010 - 4:28am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

but is has been tested: • The Golden Rice Humanitarian Board is committed to the highest standards of safety assessment being conducted, and Golden Rice will only be made available for consumption after clearance by the relevant authorities and according to national legislation.

posted on Wed, 03/09/2011 - 5:48pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

True, it may have been tested and there may not be any immediate/short-term side effects...but what about in the long run? that is always the potential issue, which no one can really know so we either go with golden rice and see what happens 50-100yrs from now or we stop because we are too fearful?
but then again keep in mind that artificial sweeteners are an option to replace sugar even though the body can't break it down so it can just accumulate...yet it is still being promoted and used...so...don't eat golden rice if you don't want to, but if it can help a certain population of the humans on earth, why not give it a try.

posted on Wed, 03/09/2011 - 9:51pm
Christabel's picture
Christabel says:

So many factors are involved in situations like this. People need food to sustain life. Some do not care how this food is made as long as they have something to satisfy their hunger. When a man is hungry, the mind becomes alert and he takes any opportunity to get food. Over the years, the human mind is broadened on ways to solve certain problems. Now, we come up with manipulating genes and we are applying it to health, food, and many more. Most of the foods we eat are chemically processed. From water to whatever you can think of. Everything around us is chemically processed. On the other hand, the use of naturally grown foods is diminishing. We are more focused on making more food, storing and packing, pest controlling and including into our foods the essential vitamins we need. The production of food is no longer a way of satisfying a consumer but making money. Very soon, food will be supplements instead of what we grow in our gardens. On saying that, these supplements are already in stock. The question we need to ask ourselves is where we are heading with all this. WHAT IS OUR AIM? Our main priority should be to satisfy the consumer not to earn money. I may have talked about so many things. Like i said, so many factors are involved in this issue.

posted on Thu, 05/05/2011 - 10:41am

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