Updated: November 26, 2019 1:03:53 pm
In the late 1990s, German scientists developed a genetically modified variety of rice called Golden Rice. It was claimed to be able to fight Vitamin A deficiency, which is the leading cause of blindness among children and can also lead to death due to infectious diseases such as measles.
The claim has sometimes been contested over the years, with a 2016 study from Washington University in St Louis reporting that the variety may fall short of what it is supposed to achieve.
Now, Bangladesh could be on the verge of becoming the first country to approve plantation of this variety. The Dhaka Tribune recently quoted visiting Nobel Laureate Sir Richard John Roberts as saying that Bangladesh would take a decision on the release of Golden Rice.
Advocates of the variety stress how it can help countries where Vitamin A deficiencies leave millions at high risk. In Bangladesh, over 21 per cent of the children have vitamin A deficiency.
The Golden Rice that is being reviewed in Bangladesh is developed by the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute. According to the institute, this rice variety will not be more expensive than the conventional variety.
Rice is naturally low in the pigment beta-carotene, which the body uses to make Vitamin A. Golden rice contains this, which is the reason for its golden colour.
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