Golden Rice Development-Golden Rice Facts

Golden Rice

Research on rice is going on worldwide and invention of Golden Rice is a crucial development in this research.  Golden Rice is a rice variety that is genetically engineered.  A common variety of rice generally is unable to produce Beta-carotene on its own.  This is causing Vitamin A deficiency in people of the developing countries as rice is the main food for these people.  Deficiency of Vitamin A is leading to many diseases.  Nearly 12.5 crore children are suffering from vision defects due to vitamin A deficiency.  In addition almost ten lakh people are dying of malnutrition every year.

Scientists have identified some health problems in people who eat rice as their prime food.  Deficiency of Vitamin A causes many illnesses.  Scientists thought of overcoming this problem and decided that the food itself should be made to overcome the problem.  Result of that decision is Golden Rice.

Golden Rice Project

Golden Rice project was initiated in the year 1982 with the financial assistance of Rockfiller Foundations by Doctor Peter Beyer of Center for Applied Bioscience, Freiburg University, Germany, Professor Ingo Potrykus of Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich. They succeeded in developing Golden rice in August, 1999.  It was found out that 4 units of Beta-carotene in the rice we consume converts into one unit of Vitamin A in the body. Scientists have also found that one gram of Golden rice contains 35 micrograms of Beta-carotene.  From then agriculture scientists world over are conducting research on Golden rice.  Invention of Golden Rice has given rise to new ideas.  It has also influenced many Biotechnology based researches.  It was revealed that Golden Rice will be a boon for children who are suffering from malnutrition in poor countries.

The scientists who developed Golden rice have come forward to share the rights of technical knowledge of Golden rice with poor countries.  Thus they have invented humanity angle in scientific research.  As a result research on Golden Rice has started in many countries in the world including India.  A multinational company in America has released Golden Rice-2.  Golden Rice-2 was developed by transforming genes found in maize into a rice variety.  This rice is in golden color.  Golden Rice-2 contains more beta-carotene than that is in Golden Rice-1.  One gram of Golden Rice-2 contains 36.7 micrograms of Beta-carotene.

 Golden Rice in India

In India also research is going on Golden Rice and scientists are trying to transform genes that are used in the designing of Golden Rice into rice varieties available in the country.  The main objective of these researches is to prevent blindness.  Scientists are with the aim that Golden rice should be produced in India by the end of 1212 in 40 lakh hectares. Swarna, MTU 1010, ADT 43 are the rice varieties available in India in which scientists are trying to transform the required genes to produce Golden Rice. Research is going on in the supervision of Department of Biotechnology, Rice Research Directorate with the association of International Rice Research.  Researches on Golden Rice are also going on in Indian Agriculture Research Institute in Delhi, Agriculture Universities in Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.  Philippines, Bangladesh and India are concentrating on Golden rice.  Scientists are saying that Golden Rice will come into availability to people very soon.

While scientists are saying that Golden Rice will help to prevent Vitamin A deficiency and blindness, social activists are saying that Golden rice does not contain Vitamin A in the quantities claimed by the scientists.  There are no exact calculations on how much Vitamin A will be present in the Golden Rice after it is cooked.  Green Peace Organization is warning that genetically engineered rice crop is not good for the environment.  The drawbacks in present rice varieties should be solved through other ways but it is not advisable to opt for genetically engineered crops.  It is to be seen when Golden Rice will be available and if they can become alternative to the present varieties rice or not.

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