April 21, 2015

21/04/2015: Scientists behind 'golden rice' GM crop to receive humanitarian award from the White House

The scientists who invented vitamin-enriched 'golden rice' will receive a humanitarian award tomorrow from the White House in Washington for developing a staple food that could save the lives of millions of people in the developing world, The Independent reports.

Golden rice is genetically manipulated to turn on the genes for making beta-carotene, a nutritional precursor the body needs to manufacture its own vitamin A. These genes are switched off in ordinary white rice which can lead to severe vitamin A deficiency causing tens of millions of cases of blindness and death each year, mainly in South East Asia.

Environmental campaigners opposed to golden rice have organised the destruction of experimental field trials on the grounds that the GM rice represents a high-tech “quick fix” to vitamin A deficiency without addressing the underlying problems of poverty and poor nutrition.

“Genetically engineered ‘golden’ rice is environmentally irresponsible, poses risk to human health and could compromise food, nutrition and financial security,” said Greenpeace, which has led the opposition to the crop for the past two decades.

However, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the US Patent and Trademark Office have awarded the inventors of golden rice the prestigious Patents for Humanity Award, which will be presented to Adrian Dubock, who as a former scientist at the agro-chemicals company Syngenta helped to arrange for the intellectual property behind the research to be made available free of charge to developing countries.

Read more HERE.

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