World’s first genetically modified rice – “golden rice” – to be produced in Philippine

Green field (Image credit: Angie Harms)

Main Point:

Experts have reported that the first genetically-modified (GM) rice – “golden rice” – would be approved in two to three years for production in Philippines.

Study Further:

Newly developed GM rice – also referred to as “golden rice” – has already completed the field trials despite of strong opposition, according International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Philippine government’s agriculture department.

“Golden rice is coming. That is in the pipeline and a lot of the principal development and research has been completed,” said Achim Dobermann, deputy director-general of IRRI.

Researchers will now check whether this GM rice is safe to consume and propagate, said Antonio Alfonso, coordinator of the Agriculture Department’s biotechnology program. China is already working on pest-resistant variety of GM rice but the commercial availability is still not clear.

“At the moment, there is no GM (genetically-modified) rice officially released in any country,” Dobermann told.

According to IRRI, golden rice will be able to produce vitamin A, which is usually not present in the diets of many people in the developing countries resulting in immune system weaknesses and vision problems.

The Southeast Asia office of environmental group Greenpeace disliked the efforts to generate golden rice.

“There are already existing solutions and programmes being implemented by the Philippine government to address vitamin A deficiency in the country and these have been in place and are continuing to be effective,” Greenpeace campaigner Daniel Ocampo said in a statement.

However, Dobermann said that the present alternatives are either too expensive or cannot be used practically, so GM rice could be the better option.

Source:

First GMO rice to be launched in Philippines in 2016 – phys.org (http://phys.org/news/2013-11-gmo-rice-philippines.html)

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutics, in Hajvery University, Lahore, Pakistan.