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Interview With Professor Potrykus, Inventor of Golden Rice 400

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 hawkinspeter ( 831501 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @03:55AM (#44805727)
    The seeds being owned by a company is a problem, though. It's like open vs closed source but applied to food.
  • by joostje ( 126457 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @04:07AM (#44805757)
    rice [] contains more fat (0.66 gr/100gr) than carrots [], so the golden rice should be at least as effective as carrots then. And yes, meat would be good too, but very expensive.
  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @04:11AM (#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.
  • Re:I can't imagine (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Namarrgon ( 105036 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @04:13AM (#44805775) Homepage

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

  • by fonske ( 1224340 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @06:03AM (#44806153)
    Let's reduce the problem of dietary diversification to one problem of shortage of a precursor to vitamin A and the industry is winning the GMO debate already.
    Moreover this debate takes monoculture for granted.
    A good example of problems with monocultures is a crossover of Phytophtora infestans (blight) with Mexican Phytophtora since the 80's, wreaking havoc on (cloned) monocultures of potatoes.
  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @06:36AM (#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, 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 idji ( 984038 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @07:21AM (#44806361)
    I remember an Ethiopian turning his nose up in disgust at having to eat leeks, "That is a poor person's food".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @07:22AM (#44806371)

    Because the Monstato paper on how it was safe used the same strain of rat. Indeed, that strain of rat is ALWAYS used *precisely because* they're sensitive to the consequences. Means quicker response with fewer rats used.

    Moreover, the number of rats used in the french trial was higher and the trial lasted longer than the Monstato trial "proving" it was safe.

    You DO know that cancer takes time to become visible, right?

    Articles are being removed because Monstato will remove any and all funding for a journal carrying something that damages the GMO jihad. And other biotech and agribusiness companies are doing the same.

    There's trillions to be made here.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @08:05AM (#44806529)

    Have you ever actually eaten a sweet potato? They're disgusting. I'll just stick with the blindness, thanks.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @08:22AM (#44806637) Homepage Journal

    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.

    Great. But fracking can fuck your well. And that's what we're doing now. CNG is around $2.35 a gallon-equivalent, why do you think that is? How do you think we came to this pass? What do you think the results will be?

  • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <> on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @09:51AM (#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 [], 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." -- []

    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!) []; and yes, they present a novel ecological hazard of genome pollution; and yes, they have led to increased pesticides use []; 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.

Kill Ugly Processor Architectures - Karl Lehenbauer