By Carol Campbell
Golden Rice burst into the public imagination a decade ago, in the form of a cover article in Time magazine that claimed the genetically modified (GM) rice could ‘save a million kids a year’.
The rice gets its golden hue from an excess of beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A that could help half a million children who go blind each year from an often-fatal vitamin A deficiency.
But ten years later, Golden Rice is yet to cure blindness – and some believe it never will.
The public versus GM
Co-inventor Ingo Potrykus points to resistance to GM technology from pressure groups such as Greenpeace that has resulted in public and governmental resistance – including fears that rogue GM genes may contaminate wild varieties or that GM technology services corporate greed and will never help the poor.
This has led to ‘excessive’ regulations that have choked efforts to roll out GM crops that might feed the poor, he says.
And there are other concerns – the cost; the slowness of...
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