27 Apr 2020

Golden Rice Quick read

Context: Bangladesh could become the first country to approve golden rice

  • Rice is naturally low in the pigment beta-carotene, which the body uses to make Vitamin A. Golden rice is the collective name of rice varieties that  are genetically modified to counter vitamin A deficiency in developing countries. 
  • Golden rice differs from standard rice in that it contains extra genes one from maize and one from bacterial origin together responsible for the production of provitamin A (beta-carotene) in the rice grain. 
  • Provitamin A colors the grains yellow-orange, hence the name ‘Golden Rice’. Once absorbed into the body, provitamin A is converted into vitamin A. 
  • The Golden Rice 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.
    • It can be grown just the same way as the normal rice. There is no change in cost of cultivation. 
    • It reduces water use without any yield loss. 
  • The International Rice Research Institute along with its partners has successfully cultivated Golden Rice in a controlled environment on IRRI campus. 

Other 

  • 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.
  • International Rice Research Institute 
    • It is an independent, nonprofit, research and educational institute, founded in 1960 by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations with support from the Philippine government. 
    • Headquartered in Los Baños, Philippines,
    • Its regional centre was opened recently in Varanasi. 


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