GM solution to Vitamin A problem rejected in India
India to combat widespread vitamin A deficiency among children by
GM solution to Vitamin A problem rejected in IndiaA proposal in India to combat widespread vitamin A deficiency among children by growing geneticallymodified rice and mustard has drawn strong criticism from Indian ecologists and farmers' organisations, writes Ganapati Mudur in New Delhi. Indian plant biologists hope soon to acquire technology from abroad to create transgenic rice and mustard thatwill express b carotene, a precursor molecule that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of child blindness in India and also contributes to child mortality from infections. India's department of biotechnology said that it could take up to seven years for the local varieties of transgenic rice and mustard to clear safety studies andobtain regulatory approvals for commercial cultivation. But the Research Foundation for Science Technology and Ecology in New Delhi has called on farmers to prevent the planting of genetically modified crops for trials, claiming that it is still early days for genetic engineering and too hazardous a solution to the current Vitamin A problem.