Rice is one of the most consumed food across the globe, mostly because it is one of the cheapest food. Yearly consumption of it is more than 400 million tons. The human body requires all the nutrients in the proper amount to remain healthy. . In an era with more than 700 million people living below the poverty line, it was very difficult for them to get proper nutrients. One of the nutrients is vitamin a Despite containing a lot of carbohydrates rice grain lacks Carotene which is transformed to Vitamin A by our body which is one of the major concerns.
Vitamin A deficiency approximately affects one-third of children around the world. Its deficiency leads to skin diseases blindness and growth retardation in children. It can also lead to infertility. In underdeveloped and developing countries where rice is the staple food the lack of vitamin A consumption by people is a point of great concern. Other food supplements that contain vitamin A like milk butterfish are usually expensive and for poor people. Thus it was very vital to improve the quality of rice grain for proper nourishment of our body.
Peter Bramley was the first to discover the phytoene desaturase gene could produce lycopene, which then can be converted to b carotene. These details were published in 2000 by Ingo Potrykus and Peter Beyer The rice formed was termed golden rice. In 2005 Syngenta researchers produced Golden Rice 2 by fusing phytoene synthase gene from maize with crt1 from the previously developed golden rice, which produced over 20 times more carotenoids than previous rice. US Food and Drug Administration approved for use of golden rice for human consumption in 2018.
One of the reasons why rice grain lacks vitamin a is that it does not contain carotene but only contains a precursor molecule for it. Organisms like the bacterium Erwina and plants like daffodil contain enzymes that convert this precursor into carotene. Scientists isolated the 2 types of genes for the pathway of carotene from bacterium and daffodil and then added each gene to rice with the help of Ti plasmid vector. Not only Vitamin A a lot of research is going on and has been done to enrich rice grain with other nutrients like iron
The need for the improvement in the nutritional factors of rice was very crucial for human beings to sustain Improvement especially in rice grain was very important as it is one of the most consumed commodities. Golden Rice 2 contains enough vitamin A to sustain the daily requirement of around 75g. The research found that the b-carotene present in golden rice is equivalent to that in oil and better than that in spinach at providing vitamin A to children.
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