Edible Gold

by Ethan Dolby, Economics major

Sadly, there is much negativity surrounding genetically engineered crops in this day and age. Misleading news articles and a general lack of education regarding the subject casts a cloud that looms over potential genetic engineering breakthroughs. Golden Rice is one marvel of genetic engineering that has been able to break through the cloud of negativity in route to improving the lives of millions of people.

Golden rice is a genetically modified strain of rice that has been altered to promote the synthesis of vitamin A within the seeds of the plant. Although vitamin A can be found in the leaves of traditional rice plants, there are no naturally occurring strains that contain vitamin A inside the seeds.

Why is vitamin A important?

  • Promotes healthy vision
  • Aids cell division
  • Essential for reproduction
  • Supports bone, skin and immune health

Vitamin A is one of the most important micro nutrients that humans intake through their diet. Vitamin A deficiencies cause blindness and even death. The problem is especially prevalent in populations of malnourished children who are more susceptible to the problems associated with vitamin deficiencies. Children’s immune systems are already weaker and thus lack of vitamin A causes them to contract many harmful diseases.

Each year nearly twelve million children die of vitamin A deficiencies worldwide. Many of those children come from the four hundred million rice consuming poor. Golden rice provides an unparalleled opportunity to save the lives of millions.

Economic Sustainability

What makes golden rice the best solution for rice consuming countries is the sustainability. Many of the countries facing these vitamin A problems are either too poor or too large to incorporate large scale government programs to provide relief to their populations. It would cost small countries like Nepal two million dollars annually to provide vitamin A supplementation.

Golden rice doesn’t require any complicated or reoccurring logistical problems once they have been implemented into the countries crop production. While many countries have adopted the crop, other are still holding back due to cultural or personal reservations.

What people need to understand is that there has been no documents illnesses derived from genetically engineered crops. Not only are they safe to eat but they clearly can provide some wonderful health benefits. Genetically engineered crops have the potential to solve many of the world’s problems. Golden rice is a great example.

Bio:

Growing up spelunking, hiking and camping I developed a love for nature and science. Driving a hybrid car and conscientious resource management is how I make sure I am doing my part to help the environment. I initially went to Ohio State to become either a chemical or environmental engineer. Through my classwork however I discovered a love for economics. I love getting the chance to combine two of my passions.

Citation:

Courtesy Www.openwebdesign.org / Modified: Jorge Mayer. “Golden Rice Project.” Vitamin A                          Deficiency. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 June 2017.

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This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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