Monday, March 06, 2000, 5:19:05 PM, you wrote:
DW> ... The proposal is to get vitamin-A containing rice varieties
DW> into the hands of ... 124 million vitamin A deficient children.
DW> ... I think it would be unethical to neglect a genetic solution to
DW> the problem. Don't you think that we should do both? [Eat rice
DW> with tomatoes - my own choice of carotinoid sources - DH].
Dale, why don't you explain to us why a vitamin A precursor gene could
or couldn't be bred into rice using traditional genetic methodologies!
Also, while the underlying and pervasive, widespread poverty and
ignorance (lack of education) are the "real" factors needing to be
dealt with here, I strongly suspect that a number of options are
feasible, if and when the funds are there to assure that a sustained
(and sustainable) effort is made.
Still, if greater priority were given to identifying and targeting the
many urgent needs now resolvable using technologies consistent with
the biological processes that got us this far in the world of whole
organisms that we're part of, I suspect there would be no need for
taking unnecessary (and still unknown) risks. GMOs in the food supply
may well be no more than a bad idea, as well as a passing fad.
I just noticed that E. Ann Clark's post mentions that "some varieties
of rice - I think they were red (?) - already had high levels of Vit
A." It figures - we're looking at a tempest in a tea kettle - a non
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DW> You quoted Jim Duke:
>> In SE Asia, 70% of children under 5 are deficient in Vitamin A.
>> UNICEF predicts that improved vitamin A nutrition could prevent 1 to
>> 2 million deaths each year among 1-4 year olds alone. Worldwide, an
>> estimated 124 million children are vit-A-deficient. Low-tech
>> solution: Manually harvest the edible weeds and add it to unprocessed
>> rice. Starving carotenoid-deprived families can afford this logical
DW> We all know that we should eat our vegetables, but some people don't for a
DW> variety of reasons. Many rice-eaters are quite particular about their rice,
DW> and simply won't add enough vegetables to their rice.
>> High-tech solution: Kill weeds with weedicides; genetically modify
>> rice so it is tolerant to the DuNovSanto weedicide; genetically
>> engineer rice to make its own carotenoid; buy your fertilizers,
>> pesticides and GMO seeds...
DW> Duke is pursuing a straw-man argument here. The proposal is to get
DW> vitamin-A containing rice varieties into the hands of poor people.
>> Curried rice is eaten by a lot of poor people, satisfying, perhaps
>> trivially, their carotenoid deficit.
DW> I don't think turmeric and cumin are significant sources of carotenoids.
>> I predict that GMO golden rice will be more expensive, more prone
>> to disease, and hence demand more pesticides and weedicides, than
>> good old fashioned lo-tech rice.
DW> Duke has no basis to make this prediction.
>> I would more conservatively recommend instead incorporation
>> of a few leafy weeds into an herbed rice.
DW> Again, people for various reasons do not eat enough vegetables. This
DW> recommendation is not new, and it has not worked.
>> Eat your Weedies....
DW> This is a glib response to 124 million vitamin A deficient children. It is
DW> not a bad recommendation, but I think it would be unethical to neglect a
DW> genetic solution to the problem. Don't you think that we should do both?
DW> Dale Wilson
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