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Biotech Medicine Science

"Super Bananas" May Save Millions of Lives In Africa 396

schwit1 (797399) writes "A super-enriched genetically engineered banana will soon go through its first human trial, which will test its effect on vitamin A levels, Australian researchers said Monday. The project plans to have the special banana varieties — enriched with alpha and beta carotene which the body converts to vitamin A — growing in Uganda by 2020. The bananas are now being sent to the United States, and it is expected that the six-week trial measuring how well they lift vitamin A levels in humans will begin soon."
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"Super Bananas" May Save Millions of Lives In Africa

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  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @10:29AM (#47245663)

    Why the fuck the TFS quotes a source from, when you can straight to QUT and get THEIR press release Super bananas – world first human trial [] (which has a lot more detail)

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @10:37AM (#47245745)

    In which country are Africans starving?

    Sudan, Chad, Nigeria, Zimbabwe...should I go on or were you just being a smartass?

  • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @10:41AM (#47245779)
    Good question, though it looks like in this case it might actually be a freebie since the organization bankrolling it is a charity.

    Though yeah, in the past 'for their own good' patented crops have been introduced to poor regions and then farmers end up locked into an expensive seed supply.
  • by ruir ( 2709173 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @10:43AM (#47245795)
    Poor people are fat because they dont eat properly.
  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @10:48AM (#47245851)

    Isn't the banana population under serious threat because of monoculture?

    That maybe so in western culture, but somehow I don't think that the banana being used here "The Highland or East African cooking banana" is affected.

  • No, becasue the only food they can afford is salt laden fatty food.
    Remember most pore people work full time jobs and still are at the poverty line. So no time, and not money, and limited education.

  • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:04AM (#47246021)

    STFup, get a job and pay some taxes before your countrymen sink the euro.

    You think your mythology has anything to do with anything?

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:16AM (#47246139)

    Been watching a little too much Penn and Teller? Starving Africans? In which country are Africans starving?

    I've been there... all of them. Your life totally changes when there are hundreds of people standing in front of you starving to death and there's nothing you can do about it despite knowing you have boxes of crackers back home going stale that could literally save a life. I watched people eat garbage.

  • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:36AM (#47246367) Journal

    Mod his ass up ^^^

    As someone who grew up poor, I can tell you first-hand that pricing and neighborhood conditions conspire nicely to prevent you from eating anything that isn't processed to within an inch of its existence, or isn't basically crap food.

    I think the only exception I've seen is the heavily Latino neighborhoods, where, against most odds, the local Mexican grocers and meat markets actually do provide decent and fairly nutritious foods ("fresh" is still a trial to get, but at least it's better than the local Mickey D's.)

  • by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:40AM (#47246395)

    You're giving ramen a bad name when it really doesn't deserve it. By ITSELF, ramen is crap for nutrition because like most Asian noodles it's made of wheat flour and water and very little else. What very few people outside of Japan understand is that ramen is not like spaghetti - the noodles are not the entire meal, though they are a focus of the meal. Eating the noodles by themselves is like eating slices of bread by themselves.

    The point of ramen is that as a food that contains very little besides wheat flour and water, it can go with nearly anything. There are entire restaurants in Japan dedicated to ramen, using it as a base and adding other things to provide nutrition - beef, chicken, pork, vegetables, fish, shrimp. I've seen ramen as a pizza topping, pizza as a ramen topping (see slowbeef's original Let's Play of SNATCHER and the people on SA who tried making "Neo Kobe Pizza"), pizza made of ramen, and pretty much any other combination of Italian-Japanese hybrid cuisine you can think of (though I have yet to see someone attempt a spaghetti-ramen fusion with meatballs and sauce).

    So no, ramen is actually a decent option on a budget if you know what you're doing with it.

  • by ChromeAeonium ( 1026952 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:47AM (#47246457)

    Because the argument that GMOs are these evil terrible things that you should totally give us your money to fight is going to be a harder sell once you've got news stories talking about how they are saving the lives of children whose only crime was being born in the wrong part of the world. Golden Rice is a big [] deal to []many [] in the anti-GMO movement, which just goes to show you how little the 'not anti-biotech just anti-Monsanto' line goes.

  • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @12:06PM (#47246629) Homepage Journal

    No, becasue the only food they can afford is salt laden fatty food.
    Remember most pore people work full time jobs and still are at the poverty line. So no time, and not money, and limited education.

    Bullshit. Have you seen how cheap dried beans and rice are? There's a complete protein right there. Add in some relatively cheap fruits and veggies like apples, lettuce, and carrots and you have a far healthier and far cheaper diet than McDonalds and packaged pre-prepared foods.

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @12:20PM (#47246753) Homepage

    Just depends on your time scale. In the Carboniferous era, what is currently boreal desert was lush tropical vegetation. All you have to do is wait a couple of million years and you're golden.

    Or dead.

  • by BronsCon ( 927697 ) <> on Monday June 16, 2014 @01:00PM (#47247137) Journal
    For one, I never said Monsanto has ever sued anyone over cross-pollination; that said, don't be fooled by Mansanto's own claim that they don't take legal action against farmers []. They specifically state they've never sued over "trace amounts" and state that the courts have acknowledged that they've never once sued, or threatened to sue, an organic farm. This is a far cry from claiming it's never happened, which they simply can't do, because it has []. And they won.

    They have also sued, and continue to sue, for seed-reuse []. That is, buying more seed than you'll use this year and using the excess next year, or harvesting and using seed produced by Mansanto-seeded crop. I can't fault them for suing farmers who harvest and replant after signing an agreement stating that they will not do this, but then I ask, how do they determine whether the seed was stores or harvested? Simply put, they can't, and the result is suing people for storing seed.

    Remember, if it happens just once, you can no longer say it doesn't happen. It's doubly-bad for one's reputation to not only do something others will disapprove of, but then to slyly attempt to convince them that it never happened in the first place. Mansanto has done just this, and the fact that they're full of shit is a matter of public record, so yes, I'm going to call them out on it.
  • by Wookact ( 2804191 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @02:04PM (#47247671)
    What do I win? (Bold added by me.)

    For a disturbing read, take a look at the new alliance's co-operation frameworks with countries. Mozambique, for example, is committed to "systematically ceasing to distribute free and unimproved [non-commercial] seeds to farmers except in emergencies". The new alliance will lock poor farmers into buying increasingly expensive seeds – including genetically modified seeds – allow corporate monopolies in seed selling, and escalate the loss of precious genetic diversity in seeds – absolutely key in the fight against hunger. It will also open the door to genetically modified (GM) crops in Africa by stopping farmers' access to traditional local varieties and forcing them to buy private seeds. []

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @03:58PM (#47248507)

    Well, growing up I was a victim of it. As a child I survived on poached deer and small game and the occasional splurge at KFC on Fridays. I still like squirrel but KFC is gross to me now.

    But if you don't want to take my word for it, ask some of these places: []
    http://www.chicagosfoodbank.or... [] [] []

    Every city over 30k people in this country has a food bank.
    You think these organizations do all this work for the hell of it?
    I grow and can large amounts of produce myself to donate.
    It shouldn't be possible to starve in this country, but it happens every day.

  • by netsavior ( 627338 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @05:04PM (#47249055)
    I know it is hard to believe, but all the things you take for granted are not automatic birthrights to everybody. a pot
    a working stove
    a working sink
    a working fridge
    cultural desire to eat "healthy"
    accessible groceries
    time and energy to cook
    working knowledge of cooking food or the ability and knowledge to look up how to do it
    a safe place to cook
    room in your budget to screw up cooking a few times without going hungry
    assumption that you can even afford to have a "budget" at all
    an educational background that includes knowing WHAT things are more nutritious than others.

    It is cheap as hell for someone who already front-loaded the tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars worth of real expenses that go into cooking a healthy meal.

    I can cook a meal for my family for 5 bucks, but I interact with my $200,000 house (in a safe neighborhood with grocery stores), my $900 fridge, my $30,000 car, $1,000 worth of cookware, and 6 hours of non-work non-sleep time between when I get off work and when I need to work again. Have I done it with less? Sure, I lived at poverty levels when I had my first apartment and was in school. But I already had years of privilege at that point, which taught me how to do the things I knew how to do.

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it. -- John Keats