MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines
will be the launch pad for the marketing of Golden Rice by
2013. The launch is seen to boost global food security and
reduce malnutrition. The Philippines was the first to commercialize
the genetically modified Bacillus thuringiensis corn in Asia
in 2002. It will once more set off to commercialize Golden
Rice to help reduce mortality due to Vitamin A deficiency
that afflicts children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding
Health Organization statistics reported in Southeast
Asia, that 90 million children suffer from the deficiency.
A 2009 study of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
showed that a cup or 150 grams of Golden Rice, when cooked
and eaten, could supply half of the recommended daily allowance
of Vitamin A needed daily by adults.
A research study conducted by a team of scientists at the
Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), in collaboration
with the International
Rice Research Institute, developed the Golden Rice.
It is rice that has been genetically engineered to contain
beta-carotene and other carotenoids. When the rice is consumed,
some carotenoids are converted in the body into Vitamin
A. Higher yield is expected compared to conventional crops.
The new variety is targeted at resisting tungro and bacterial
blight, the two diseases found to be most destructive to
The search for Golden Rice started off as a Rockfeller
initiative in 1982. After years of research by various groups,
a meeting of experts was convened in New York in 1992. Ingo
Potrykus, Professor Emeritus of the Institute for Plant
Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and Prof.
Peter Beyer of the Centre for Applied Biosciences, University
of Freiburg, Germany, met and decided to embark on the project
that led them to develop Golden Rice in 1999.
Golden Rice is expected to find its way as a staple food
on the tables of millions of Filipinos, and worldwide, by
2013. Studies are ongoing to ensure that the rice will be
safe for health and to the environment. MABUHAY!
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