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Golden Rice Moving Forward in Philippines

05:48 EDT 8 Aug 2017 | Meridian Institute

Golden Rice, the vitamin A-enriched rice, is moving closer to the marketplace in the Philippines. In February, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) submitted an application for a biosafety permit to the Philippine government seeking approval for Golden Rice to be used as food and feed. Following approval of a biosafety permit, IRRI and PhilRice would next apply for commercialization and unrestricted cultivation of the rice. “Golden Rice has a very great potential to help address the problem of vitamin A deficiency since we Filipinos are rice lovers,” said Dr. Roel Suralt, the PhilRice Golden Rice project leader. “We eat rice three times a day, and even more.” Golden Rice was developed using a method of genetic engineering that increases the amount of pro-vitamin A in the rice endosperm, which is then converted to vitamin A in the body. “In 2006, IRRI and its partners began working with a new version of the Golden Rice trait that produces significantly more beta-carotene than the 1999 prototype, and it is this version of Golden Rice that is still under development and evaluation,” said IRRI officials. “Golden Rice can be commercially released as a complementary food-based approach to existing vitamin A deficiency interventions only after passing all required tests and regulations and shown to improve vitamin A status. A sustainable delivery program will ensure that Golden Rice is acceptable and accessible to those most in need.” According to the World Health Organization, vitamin-A deficiency afflicts about 19 million pregnant women and 190 million preschool-age children, mostly in Africa and Southeast Asia.

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