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Golden rice

golden rice, genetically modified, vitamin A

Golden rice

Golden rice brand was announced in the year 2000, it promises to save millions of people from blindness and disease. It is the first genetically modified crop plant. It promises to improve nutrition and health in many developing countries. Golden rice is engineered to biosynthesize the precursors of beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A).The scientific details of the rice were first published in Science in 2000. Golden rice was developed as a fortified food to be used in areas where there is a shortage of dietary vitamin A. In 2005, a new variety called Golden Rice 2 was announced, which produces up to 23 times more beta-carotene than the original variety of golden rice.

Golden rice was created by Ingo Potrykus of the institute of plant sciences at the swiss federal institute of technology, along with Peter Beyer of the University of Freiburg. The project started in 1992. At the time of publication in 2000, Golden rice was considered a significant breakthrough in biotechnology as the researchers had engineered an entire biosynthetic pathway. Golden rice was designed to produce Vitamin A precursor beta-carotene in the part of rice that people eat, the endosperm. The rice plant can naturally produce beta-carotene, which is a carotenoid pigment that occurs in the leaves and is involved in photosynthesis. However, the plant does not normally produce the pigment in the endosperm since the endosperm is not a tissue in which photosynthesis takes place.Golden rice was created by transforming rice with three beta carotene biosynthesis genes namely psy (Phytoene synthase),lyc (lycopene cyclase, both from dafodil),crt1 from soil bateria erwinia uredovora. The end product of the bioengineered pathay is lycopene which is subsequently processed by the plant's endogenous enzymes process to beta-carotene in the endosperm, giving the rice the distinctive yellow colour for which it is named. Golden Rice grains are easily recognizable by their yellow colour, the stronger the colour the more beta-carotene. While yellow rice is still unfamiliar to most of us, it is hoped that the pleasant colour will help promote its adoption. Would you believe that once upon a time carrots were white? Orange-coloured carrots are the product of a mutation selected by a Dutch Gardner a few hundred years ago because it was the colour of the Dutch Royal House!

In 2005 a team of reseachers at biotechnology company Syngenta produced a variety of golden rice called golden rice 2. They combined the phytoene synthase gene from maize with crt1 from the original golden rice. Golden rice 2 produces 23 times more carotenoids than golden rice (up to 37µg/g), and preferentially accumulates beta-carotene (up to 31µg/g of the 37µg/g of carotenoids). Golden rice has been bred with local rice cultivars in the Philippines, Taiwan and with the American rice variety Cocodrie. The first field trials of these golden rice cultivars were conducted by Louisiana State University AgCenter in 2004. Field testing will allow a more accurate measurement of the nutritional value of golden rice and will enable feeding tests to be performed. Preliminary results from the field tests have shown that field grown Golden rice produces 3 to 4 times more beta-carotene than Golden rice grown under green house condition. As many children in countries where there is a dietary deficiency in Vitamin A rely on rice as a staple food, the genetic modification to make rice produce provitamin A (beta-carotene) is seen as a simple and less expensive alternative to vitamin supplements.
References:
1. Nat Biotechnol. 2005 Apr;23(4):482-7. Improving the nutritional value of Golden Rice through increased pro-vitamin A content. Paine JA, Shipton CA, Chaggar S, Howells RM, Kennedy MJ, Vernon G, Wright SY, Hinchliffe E, Adams JL, Silverstone AL, Drake R.

2. J Exp Bot. 2006;57(4):1007-14. Exploring the potential of the bacterial carotene desaturase CrtI to increase the beta-carotene content in Golden Rice.Al-Babili S, Hoa TT, Schaub P.

3. Golden rice from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Published: 2006-05-20
Author: Sumi Mukhopadhyay

About the author or the publisher
Dr. Sumi Mukhopadhyay, is a Ph.D in Science and has worked as a lecturer in the postgraduate department of Botany in a college in Kolkata, INDIA. She is a national scholar, and at present is actively involved in research ventures especially in the field of Biotechnology. she received foreign travel grant award from Govt of India, to attend and present research work at the Worldleish 3 congress, Italy 2005.She also trained herself in the field of proteomics in, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, 2005.Till date, she has almost thirty publication and presentations with many prestigious awards.


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