> 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!
Talk to someone at IRRI. They know a lot about rice genetics. If IRRI
breeders could do it with conventional breeding methods, they would have.
> 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.
I agree. I think nutritional enhancement of subsistence grain crops should
be one among many strategies. But it appears to be a powerful strategy.
> 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.
If you were a 3-year-old wasting away from vitamin A deficiency, wouldn't
you rather accept the nebulously theoretical risks from genetic engineering
than die or go blind?
> GMOs in the food supply may well be no more than a bad idea,
> as well as a passing fad.
I guess time will tell.
> 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
First, red rice is a noxious weed, unfit for cultivation. The grain
shatters and the seed is dormant. Second, the red color is just in the
pericarp. Are you sure that it contains that much vitamin A or carotenoids?
And people want polished rice, they like it better and it requires less fuel
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