In developing countries where white rice is the dominant food, a half million pregnant women and young children become blind and two million die every year because of a Vitamin A deficiency.
On a mission to use genetic engineering to benefit humankind, scientists have genetically modified one type of rice so the grain, not just its leaves, makes Vitamin A. One published study showed that the improved nutritional content of “golden rice” could save sight and lives.
Golden rice was ready to be marketed in 2002, but critics have been calling it a Frankenfood. Golden rice is still not commercially adopted, even though in 2013, Pope Francis personally blessed its use.
This is one of the examples that Tessa Burch-Smith gave in her recent talk as part of the new Roane State Community College–Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning Intergenerational Lecture Series. An assistant professor at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, she teaches and conducts research in UT’s Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology. [Read more…]