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Interview With Professor Potrykus, Inventor of Golden Rice 400

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the better-living-through-genetic-engineering dept.
crabel writes "According to WHO, 127 millions of pre-school children worldwide suffer from vitamin A deficiency, causing some 500,000 cases of irreversible blindness every year. This deficiency is responsible for 600,000 deaths among children under the age of 5. Golden Rice might be a solution to this problem. The only problem? It's GMO. In an interview inventor Potrykus, now close to 80 years old, answers questions about the current state of approval, which might happen in the next couple of months."
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Interview With Professor Potrykus, Inventor of Golden Rice

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @02:08AM (#44805563)

    It being a GMO isn't a problem, unless you're a Luddite.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Garridan (597129)
      Yup. The problem with GMO is that Monsanto uses it so they can soak crops with RoundUp. Say no to RoundUp, not GMO.
      • by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @04:38AM (#44806101) Homepage

        Yes, but we're talking about Golden Rice [wikipedia.org] here, which is nothing to do with RoundUp.

        Golden Rice has exactly three extra genes in it. The modification made was openly published. Many widely eaten foods already contain the exact same genes The only reason it was added to rice is because that's what these people grow/eat on a daily basis.

        • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <<tms> <at> <infamous.net>> on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @08:51AM (#44807373) Homepage

          The only reason it was added to rice is because that's what these people grow/eat on a daily basis.

          Actually many of the people with vitamin A deficiency live in Africa [wiley.com], in areas not known as rice country.

          The actual problem is an economic system that leads to people growing rice almost exclusively: "Beyond that though, poorly-fed people are unlikely to be able to absorb beta-carotene even when they eat golden rice. To use it, they need a diverse diet, including green leafy vegetables. But the sorts of vegetables people used to be able to find have declined in number as the green revolution of the 60s and 70s emphasised monocultures of new varieties. Household consumption of vegetables in India has fallen by 12% in two decades." -- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3122923.stm [bbc.co.uk]

          Golden rice only contributes to the problem (economic and ecological) of monoculture. Growing carrots, sweet potatoes,mangoes, papaya, or other vitamin-A rich crops is a much more sensible answer -- unless one is devoted to the current exploitative system.

          The purpose of "golden rice" is not to solve malnutrition, that could be done far more cheaply and easily with carrots, etc. Its purpose is to provide good PR for the biotech industry: "Why, yes, our GM crops are largely untested for safety, and most of the studies on safety that do exist are ones we've done ourselves (trust us!) [sciencedirect.com]; and yes, they present a novel ecological hazard of genome pollution; and yes, they have led to increased pesticides use [motherjones.com]; and yes, they give more control of agriculture to corporate interests -- but look! We found a very expensive and impractical way to prevent some cases of vitamin A deficiency! Love us! Worship us! Big Science!"

          It's not science, it's scientism in the advancement of corporatism.

          • Growing carrots, sweet potatoes,mangoes, papaya, or other vitamin-A rich crops is a much more sensible answer -- unless one is devoted to the current exploitative system.

            Thank God the poorest people in the world can afford that and the refrigeration and transport necessary to facility that. Stupid poor people for not thinking of hoping down to the local Walmart sooner.

            Golden rice only contributes to the problem (economic and ecological) of monoculture.

            Bullshit. You think people want to live off rice their whole lives? They aren't going to get this and decide they want nothing else; this is to help until a more varied diet can be available to everyone. Of course Golden Rice isn't the ideal solution, but good luck changing the socioeconomic problems of gl

    • by hawkinspeter (831501) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @02:55AM (#44805727)
      The seeds being owned by a company is a problem, though. It's like open vs closed source but applied to food.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DrXym (126579)
        Owned for 20 years, or 12 million alive and 10 million sighted children if you prefer. Then anybody can do what they like with the patent. It also doesn't stop some rival from producing a crop with equivalent properties expressed through some other means.
        • by hawkinspeter (831501) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @03:38AM (#44805897)
          That's a false dichotomy - there's more than one way to skin a cat. How about we encourage them to grow more sweet potatoes (which naturally have a high vitamin A content) rather than forcing them to grow cash crops to export in a futile attempt to pay back their international debts?
          • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

            by DrXym (126579)
            I assume this rice given its properties was largely developed for domestic consumption so I don't see that your point is valid.
            • I'm sorry, I don't follow what you mean by "domestic consumption" and how that refutes anything.

              Vitamin A deficiency is a worldwide problem with the worst affected area being Africa and the least affected areas being North America, Europe and Russia.

              The big advantage of having high vitamin A in rice is that a lot of cultures have rice as their main staple, so in theory it's a quick way of increasing worldwide vitamin A consumption. The downside is the GMO/ownership issues.
              • by DrXym (126579)
                Domestic consumption as in the rice would be predominantly eaten in the country that grew it to alleviate vitamin A and other mineral deficiencies. Note that this rice is targeted for the Philippines and from TFA mention was made of cassava and sweet potatoes for other countries. So it doesn't follow it would be "forcing them to grow cash crops to export" since it's unlikely that was ever the intention.
                • by DrXym (126579)
                  "this rice is targeted" -> "this rice trial is targeted"
                • by hawkinspeter (831501) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @04:57AM (#44806137)
                  I was mainly thinking about Africa, rather than the Philippines, but the same situation exists there as well.

                  It's not the rice that is forcing them to grow cash crops, but it's their external debt that forces them to grow cash crops for export which then leads to local consumers being unable to afford the crops that are grown within their own country.

                  Ownership of the seeds from a crop is vitally important to people who are trying to feed themselves as they may not be able to purchase the seeds for the next season if they have a bad season. If they switch away from traditional crops (that they can keep the seed from) to GMO crops, they'd better have kept enough seed for switching back again if they fall on hard times.
                  • It has nothing to do with debt.
                    It is simple capitalism.

                    The first world will/can pay more for food it throws out than the third world can pay for food to save their starving children.
                    You can make more money advertising to Americans to convince them to buy 50% more than they could every possibly eat, then you can make feeding the starving population of Africa. So the food gets exported to America, or Britain, or Canada.

                    That is simply global capitalism. Africa can produce their own necessities, but they cannot

                    • There is no selling anything outside of debt ridden countries, every capitalistic country is ridden with debt. And it has been said that the debt is an integral part of capitalism, and that one cannot exist without the other.

                      But, that is beside the point. It is not the debtors who control what is being grown, it is the undebt ridden multinational corporations who grow food for export in Africa, and none of their decisions are based on how much debt Africa has, just if they will make more money exporting exc

          • by rycamor (194164) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @04:05AM (#44806003)

            No kidding. The anti-Luddites are just as bad as the Luddites when it comes to this stuff. There is a whole spectrum of food available without needing to rely on someone's patented experiment.

            With sweet potato, it's not just vitamin A. they have about the highest concentration and spectrum of vitamins you will find in any common crop. And it's freaking easy to grow. The problem is not lack of technology, but lack of simple knowledge and willingness to apply it.

            Another crop that is ridiculously easy to grow in temperate and tropical zones is the moringa tree, which produces copious edible leaves and seed pods, with a near-miraculous nutritional profile. Unfortunately, try to get poor Africans to grow it and eat it and they will often turn up their noses in disgust, calling it "poor people food". Sweet potato often receives the same low-brow snobbery in the USA, actually.

            The problem of nutrition is always more cultural than anything else. Look at the USA itself, where abundant nutritious food is available, yet the average American gets most of his calories from high-fructose corn syrup (delivered to your gullet in many sneaky ways). And when you add up HFCS and highly-processed grains, that probably accounts for a good 85% of the calories eaten in this country.

            So yes, "golden rice" might solve a problem, in the sense that it would fool culturally-bound people who are unwilling to forego rice as their staple food. But it's hardly the only way. And I do remain highly suspicious of the long-term risk/benefit scenario with GMOs.

            • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @05:36AM (#44806221)

              Another crop that is ridiculously easy to grow in temperate and tropical zones is the moringa tree, which produces copious edible leaves and seed pods, with a near-miraculous nutritional profile. Unfortunately, try to get poor Africans to grow it and eat it and they will often turn up their noses in disgust, calling it "poor people food". Sweet potato often receives the same low-brow snobbery in the USA, actually.

              Hah. Golden rice could actually bump into the same problem. For some peculiar reasons, in many parts of the world, white rice - pretty much like white-anything (bread, flour, people...you name it) is subconsciously considered "purer" and anything else has a poverty stigma attached to it. Don't ask me why, it just happens. Trying to convince Asians to eat something ricey AND brown or yellow or orange may prove difficult. Don't know about Africans but you find this kind of food idiocy pretty much anywhere, so I guess there's a solid chance that golden rice will actually be a tough sale (*especially* since it's been *designed* as "food for poor people who couldn't afford better diet otherwise").

            • by N1AK (864906) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @06:04AM (#44806311) Homepage

              So yes, "golden rice" might solve a problem, in the sense that it would fool culturally-bound people who are unwilling to forego rice as their staple food. But it's hardly the only way. And I do remain highly suspicious of the long-term risk/benefit scenario with GMOs.

              It would solve the problem of insufficient vitamin A and virtually instantly; I really can't see how that point is debatable, even by people who think it is a bad idea for other reasons.

              There are dozens of possible solutions, virtually all of which have been available for decades now. They aren't being applied. Moving people to 'golden rice' is a trivial change comparative to trying to change the diet of hundreds of millions of people, the crops of millions of farmers and the supply chain for millions of tonnes of food.

            • by idji (984038) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @06:21AM (#44806361)
              I remember an Ethiopian turning his nose up in disgust at having to eat leeks, "That is a poor person's food".
            • No civilization has ever survived primarily on potato.
            • by Culture20 (968837)
              Do sweet potatoes grow in boggy fields? Golden rice can grow in current rice fields.
              • by rycamor (194164)

                AFAIK most of those boggy fields have been carefully engineered to be that way. Ironically, according to Masanobu Fukuoka [onestrawrevolution.net] rice yields can be higher without flooded fields.

                There is an incredible amount of momentum behind both bad farming practices and bad eating practices. The modern world tries correct this momentum by adding technological backfixes rather than address the problems themselves.

            • by khallow (566160)

              The problem of nutrition is always more cultural than anything else. Look at the USA itself, where abundant nutritious food is available, yet the average American gets most of his calories from high-fructose corn syrup

              That's not cultural, it's economic. Lots of subsidies made that happen.

            • by TWiTfan (2887093)

              There is a whole spectrum of food available without needing to rely on someone's patented experiment.

              Yes, a whole spectrum of natural, non-GMO food that has never in the history of the planet supported a population of 7 billion+ before. But if you're volunteering to be one of the humans to commit mass suicide so that the rest of us can return to the natural, organic ways of yesteryear when the earth's population was much smaller and more rural--then please, don't let me stand in your way. We appreciate your sacrifice.

              • by rycamor (194164)

                Don't be ridiculous. Crops like sweet potato can produce more calories per acre than rice could ever hope to. The problem is cultural.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            There are no licensing issues with Golden Rice. All patent holders have long ago agreed to free use for humanitarian purposes.
            "Open vs closed source" is a problem in general, but not for Golden Rice.

            • Yep, I read about that after posting.

              However, I still have some concerns about licensing food crops, even though Golden Rice has been developed for humanitarian reasons (they did try to commercialise it, but developed countries aren't vitamin A deficient so there wasn't much of a market). There's always the possibility that some of the related license holders can change their minds and nothing about patents is ever clear cut.
        • by game kid (805301)

          It also doesn't stop some rival from producing a crop with equivalent properties expressed through some other means.

          ...and there's the problem. By enabling Monsanto to patent life, you encourage others to do so. Even if Monsanto only used its patent in some copyleft sort of way, you'd have some even greater asshole or two or 37 who decide that once a nice breeze brings some of their pollen into your crops, you've become a dirty floppy-copying "IP" thief ripe to bend over de jure.

          At least your orifices wi

          • by DrXym (126579)
            They haven't "patented life" they have patented one way of countless of increasing the vitamin & iron content of a staple food. If countries don't want to pay a corp which has put millions, possibly billions into developing this crop with the reasonable expectation of profit then they should develop their own alternative or provide their population with education and supplements that they don't go blind or die.

            India obviously has the odd loose billion given they've just built a nuclear sub.

            Or just p

  • by kruach aum (1934852) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @02:09AM (#44805567)

    Ignorance and fear are the problem.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @02:42AM (#44805679)

      Ignorance and fear are the problem.

      GMO could be a problem depending on how it is done and how it is deployed. Ignorance and fear prevent any meaningful discussion of the matter. Calling for more research into the risks and then trampling experimental crop fields doesn't help either.

      • by kruach aum (1934852) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @03:54AM (#44805953)

        What you describe is a problem of ignorance, not a potential problem specific to GMO. Everything could be a problem depending on how it is executed. Wells can bring water to thousands. Shitting in wells can also bring cholera to thousands. Neither has anything to do with wells, and everything to do with knowledge.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Ignorance and fear are the problem.

        GMO could be a problem depending on how it is done and how it is deployed. Ignorance and fear prevent any meaningful discussion of the matter. Calling for more research into the risks and then trampling experimental crop fields doesn't help either.

        Monsanto Marketeers would call that "anti-advertising".

        Most of the ignorance and fear you speak of stems directly from the mistrust in the very companies controlling GMOs, who go so far as to prevent any such labeling on any food to merely identify it as containing their own product. Perhaps if certain companies were a bit more open and honest instead of wanting to secure profits in any way possible, the ignorance and fear could be quelled.

    • by kf6auf (719514) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @03:55AM (#44805957)

      It's not entirely the fault of the populace that they are ignorant. Have you tried finding out in what way GMO foods at your local supermarket have been modified?

      Heck, if the agriculture companies had started using genetic engineering to make crops healthier, they would have been far more likely to be accepted. But they started by making crops more watery (and thus less nutritious), making it so farmers can blanket entire US states with herbicides without affecting the desired crops, and introducing pesticides that AFAIK are just assumed to be safe. So a broad brush was used, and because of the agriculture companies it was the bad brush instead of the good one.

      • by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @04:49AM (#44806125) Homepage

        It's not entirely the fault of the populace that they are ignorant. Have you tried finding out in what way GMO foods at your local supermarket have been modified?

        In the case of Golden Rice the modification have been widely published.

        Even Wikipedia has them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_rice [wikipedia.org]

      • The thing is that the people calling for GMO labeling want food made using this Golden Rice labeled in the same way that food made from Monsanto Round Up resistant corn is labeled. That makes the label NOT useful, because it lumps food made with crops containing well understood properties (beta-carotene) with food made with crops containing less well understood properties (the component that makes the crop resistant to Round Up).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by daem0n1x (748565)

      The real problem is this kind of complicated, expensive and dangerous "solution" when simply introducing other crops that naturally provide vitamin D would fix the issue.

      Reminds me of that old joke about the US spending millions of dollars to develop a pen which can write in space, and the Soviet cosmonauts simply using a pencil.

      • by daem0n1x (748565)
        Fix: I wrote "vitamin D", I meant "vitamin A". I keep confusing them all the time.
      • by N1AK (864906) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @06:17AM (#44806349) Homepage
        I find it interesting that you think changing agricultural practice and diet across a gigantic swathe of the globe is 'simple'.

        If Norman Borlaug had tried to introduce more efficient crops instead of developing dwarf wheat he would not have saved hundreds of millions of lives and been awarded one of the most appropriate nobel peace prizes for his work.

        Golden rice is licensed freely to small farmers and they are free to re-use seed so there's no typical lock-in risk.

        We know the modifications that have been made to the rice. We know the nutritional and organic content of the rice produced. There's no credible reason to believe that golden rice will have negative health consequences; but we know for damn sure that people are dying and going blind now.
  • by rossz (67331) <ogre&geekbiker,net> on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @02:18AM (#44805589) Homepage Journal

    Idiots who shop at Whole Foods would rather a child go blind due to vitamin deficiency rather than allow an evil GMO food to be used. Their suggestion of "they should eat more vegetables" ignores the simple fact that they need the special rice because they don't have access to the fucking vegetables.

    Tons of food have been destroyed in Africa because of this ignorance. It's better that people starve rather than risk ingesting a GMO food. What. The. Fuck?

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @02:37AM (#44805657) Journal

      Their suggestion of "they should eat more vegetables"

      When I read this, I thought you were joking, thinking, "no one could be as stupid as suggesting that." Then sure enough, right after, I read this [slashdot.org] comment. I guess they are that stupid!

      • Wow, you have extrapolated from a trolling AC to stereotyping people who are doubtful about GMOs. For all you know rossz posted that just to make his own over-the-top post post look more plausible.

        • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @03:01AM (#44805745) Journal
          I didn't extrapolate, although I can see how you might have misread my post that way.

          In general, I have a low opinion of those who irrationally hate oppose golden rice, for reasons mentioned above. People are worried about some hypothetical, speculative harm caused by these GMOs, and are willing to let people die for no other reason than their own fears. This particular rice has been studied a lot, has provable benefit compared to some speculative risk, and people who oppose it generally do so for irrational reasons.
          • In general, I have a low opinion of those who irrationally hate oppose golden rice, for reasons mentioned above.

            Ah, so no it wasn't extrapolation, it was confirmation bias.

            After all, an AC saying something like, "And guess what, no Monsanto can sue you for growing unmodified carrots!" means he's an example of mainstream criticism of GMOs.

        • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @03:11AM (#44805767) Journal
          In fact, you might say that "golden rice" is a kind of shibboleth, a test to determine whether anti-GMO people are able to reason about topics well, or whether they are completely irrational in their fears. Greenpeace falls into the irrational category here.

          The benefits of the rice are so obvious that you have to be somewhat blind to completely oppose its use in Africa.
      • by Chrisq (894406)

        Their suggestion of "they should eat more vegetables"

        When I read this, I thought you were joking, thinking, "no one could be as stupid as suggesting that." Then sure enough, right after, I read this [slashdot.org] comment. I guess they are that stupid!

        Yes stupid, when obviously we should let them eat cake

    • by m00sh (2538182)

      Idiots who shop at Whole Foods would rather a child go blind due to vitamin deficiency rather than allow an evil GMO food to be used. Their suggestion of "they should eat more vegetables" ignores the simple fact that they need the special rice because they don't have access to the fucking vegetables.

      Tons of food have been destroyed in Africa because of this ignorance. It's better that people starve rather than risk ingesting a GMO food. What. The. Fuck?

      Would rather die from cardio-vascular disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer then?

      We tinkered around with our food system and 2/3 of the population is over-weight and 1/3 is obese. We suffer from heart disease, diabetes and related problems in epidemic proportions.

      Maybe the solution isn't genetically modifying rice but something simpler as finding the right vegetables to grow alongside the rice that supplies the missing vitamin.

      Plus, vitamin A in excess is toxic and causes liver damage. Maybe we fix childh

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @03:15AM (#44805795)

        We tinkered around with our food system and 2/3 of the population is over-weight and 1/3 is obese. We suffer from heart disease, diabetes and related problems in epidemic proportions.

        Heart disease, diabetes and related problems are usually related to overweight. Golden Rice is about malnutrition.

        Maybe the solution isn't genetically modifying rice but something simpler as finding the right vegetables to grow alongside the rice that supplies the missing vitamin.

        That's what Greenpeace et al. recommends. Doesn't work. People need their land for rice.

        Plus, vitamin A in excess is toxic and causes liver damage. Maybe we fix childhood blindness but instead give teenage cirrhosis.

        Golden Rice doesn't contain vitamin A. It is enriched with -carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. Overconsumption is not a problem. (If you eat really *alot* your skin becomes orange, but this wellknown condition is benign)

        Just because we can genetically modify plants doesn't mean we should go around looking for problems to solve with it, especially that can have large possibly unknown consequences.

        Agree. It's better to put our trust in arbitrary fears and let a couple of million children go blind.

        • by m00sh (2538182)

          Agree. It's better to put our trust in arbitrary fears and let a couple of million children go blind.

          All I'm saying is that genetically modifying rice to produce vitamin A sounds like a professor with a lab looking for things to do rather than someone really trying to solve the real vitamin A deficiency problem.

          The simplest solution seems to be to grow some carrots or other vitamin A rich food alongside rice. But, maybe you're right and they need every inch of their land to grow rice and can't spare any for other vegetables.

          Maybe we all become orange oompa-loompas eating nothing but fortified rice.

          • by the plant doctor (842044) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @07:04AM (#44806523)

            The simplest solution seems to be to grow some carrots or other vitamin A rich food alongside rice. But, maybe you're right and they need every inch of their land to grow rice and can't spare any for other vegetables.

            Have you actually set foot in a rice paddy here in Asia? I'm guessing not. Rice is extremely unique in its ability to grow under monsoonal conditions. I'm not aware that carrots are fond of 5cm of standing water throughout the growing season.

            Beyond that, as the grandparent noted, these people use all the land to grow rice. It's not that there aren't good solutions (from a Western developed country standpoint), it's that this one FITS the problem at hand.

      • Would rather die from cardio-vascular disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer then?

        Yes, I would rather live longer and die from those things than to die earlier from malnutrition or related problems.

        We tinkered around with our food system and 2/3 of the population is over-weight and 1/3 is obese.

        I'm sure having readily-available food has caused average weight to rise, but I'm skeptical about how much of a factor that is compared to reduction in exercise. Until quite recently (in the evolutionary and historical scheme of things), humans have had to burn a lot of calories just to stay alive -- food, shelter, and protection all required heavy exercise to acquire, produce, and/or maintain

      • by sFurbo (1361249)

        Plus, vitamin A in excess is toxic and causes liver damage. Maybe we fix childhood blindness but instead give teenage cirrhosis.

        Given that it was originally was (and potentially still is) a problem that it did not contain enough vitamin A, I don't think vitamin A toxicity is a potential problem. Furthermore, testing whether this is a problem and what can be done if it is is what we have research for, not what we have blind, Luddite panic for.

        Just because we can genetically modify plants doesn't mean we should go around looking for problems to solve with it, especially that can have large possibly unknown consequences.

        Yes, god forbid that we try to solve problems with technology. Where would THAT leave us? Especially with technology that can have unspecified "large possibly unknown consequences". I prefer my

        • by m00sh (2538182)

          Yes, god forbid that we try to solve problems with technology. Where would THAT leave us? Especially with technology that can have unspecified "large possibly unknown consequences". I prefer my solutions without any potential problems. I haven't found any such solutions yet, but I am confident that I will strike gold any day now.

          There is a difference between solving problems with technology and going looking for problems to solve with the technology we have.

          I guess you prefer your solutions which produce larger problems than the initial problem it solved.

    • This is a commercially licensed product owned by a corporation spending the money to market it. Let me restate that, this particular plant is OWNED by a private company.

      You think they're creating the plant because "they" (the starving people) are hungry? This biotech company wants to make money by prolifigating their crop throughout the developing world (because .. you know, they *need* it) and making money from countries desperate to keep their people alive.

      It's not just the GMO part, the concerns ar
    • Idiots who shop at Whole Foods would rather a child go blind due to vitamin deficiency rather than allow an evil GMO food to be used.

      That simply is not true, most of those people would be unaware that vitamin A deficiency causes blindness and how widespread the problem is, so how they can possibly "prefer" it? If both sides go around accusing the other of being "evil" then nobody will be enlightened. Sure there's some unethical marketing involved in pushing "health foods" and it should be highlighted on sites such as this one by knowledgeable people, but really it's no worse than the industry standard since the same claim of "unethical m

  • I can't imagine (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    600k more children living... I bet they're some place that is already suffering a child shortage right? Great, so you fix their death by problem 1 and lead them right into death by problems 2 through 100.

    • Re:I can't imagine (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Namarrgon (105036) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @03:13AM (#44805775) Homepage

      Bet you didn't know that when you reduce child mortality rates, population growth rates actually go down [singularityhub.com], not up.

    • We are all going to die, so by your own logic there's a "death problem" with the number (last_death_problem_num_fixed + N) that is going to kill you. Also according to your own logic you should stop solving your own "death problems" instantly in order to reach the optimum value of N=0 (as implied by your post). In fact if you put some effort in maybe you could get to the optimum value faster by creating some artificial "death problems" for yourself.

      In other words: Fuck off and die, because there's certai
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_A [wikipedia.org] and check "Sources" section.

    So... why ? I mean if there's a country in Africa that doesn't have access to anything containing vitamin a, then ok sell this rice to them. 99 % of us are ingesting it daily already.

  • by tinkerton (199273) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @03:42AM (#44805913)

    Damn you've got a cool name!

  • GMO won't fix this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @03:44AM (#44805915)
    You can artificially put vitamin A in (expensive, copyrighted) rice, but you won't fix the poverty that is the cause of all this. Once these people will (maybe, if they can afford it) have access to rice with vitamin A in it, the next deficiency will kill the "new" survivors. Fix their poverty, not their lack of vitamin A in their food. They will take care of the vitamin A without having to resort to GMO rice. Spending money on this sort of food modification won't pay for anyone but the copyright holders. It's not even about the "risks" of GMO, it's about the futility of trying to solve poverty with it.
    • "Fix poverty". Which immediately leads to the question, *how* do you fix poverty? Don't you fix poverty by giving the poor more opportunity to grow and make what they need?

      • "Fix poverty". Which immediately leads to the question, *how* do you fix poverty? Don't you fix poverty by giving the poor more opportunity to grow and make what they need?

        It's well established that human health and poverty are closely linked. Fixing human health is one of the steps to fixing poverty. Healthy people are more capable of working than those that are ill.

    • Or, you can put Vitamin A in cheap, patented rice, which is what this story is about. Perhaps you should educate yourself. The non-profit organization that holds the patent for Golden Rice has a track record of developing solutions for third world malnutrition. They have been around since the 1960s and are well respected for the work they have already done to reduce malnutrition around the world. The GMO rice being discussed is available for the same price point as the rice which its target market (poor, ma
  • "Excessive vitamin A consumption can lead to nausea, irritability, anorexia (reduced appetite), vomiting, blurry vision, headaches, hair loss, muscle and abdominal pain and weakness, drowsiness, and altered mental status" - Wikipedia

    Hey watch where you're putting that stuff, it's like salt, you need a certain amount but too much is equally harmful. And the difference between too little and too much is a lot closer than with other vitamins like Vitamin C.

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