GOLDEN RICE (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Agriculture)

News-CRUX-10     29th May 2024        
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Context: A court in the Philippines recently revoked biosafety permits for commercial propagation of genetically modified golden rice and Bt eggplant.

Golden Rice

  • About: It is rich yellow colour, was genetically engineered to contain higher levels of the micronutrients iron and zinc in the grains while also producing beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. 
  • Approval: In 2021, the Philippines became the first country to approve commercial production of the rice variety. However, non-profit organisations such as Greenpeace and local farmers protested the decision.
  • Development: It is developed through genetic engineering and produces two new enzymes that complete the beta-carotene expression in the rice grain.
  • Nutritional Benefit: Research has indicated that one cup of Golden Rice can provide up to 50% of the daily requirement of an adult for vitamin A.

Vitamin A

  • About: Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is good for healthy vision, skin, bones, and other tissues in the body.
  • Deficiency: Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) or hypovitaminosis A is a lack of vitamin A in blood and tissues. It is common in poorer countries but rarely is seen in more developed countries.
  • Health Implications: Night blindness, A higher risk of infections, Follicular hyperkeratosis leading to dry skin, Fertility issues, and Delayed growth in children.