One bright morning this month, 400 protesters smashed down the high fences surrounding a field in the Bicol region of the Philippines and uprooted the genetically modified rice plants growing inside.
Had the plants survived long enough to flower, they would have betrayed a distinctly yellow tint in the otherwise white part of the grain. That is because the rice is endowed with a gene from corn and another from a bacterium, making it the only variety in existence to produce beta carotene, the source of vitamin A. Its developers call it “Golden Rice.”
People doubt that Golden Rice could pose unforeseen risks to human health and the environment. They won’t let their children to risk these experiments.
While, the aim of providing a new source of vitamin A to people both in the Philippines and other places in a world where rice is eaten every day by half the population. Lack of the vital nutrient causes blindness in a quarter-million to a half-million children each year. It affects millions of people in Asia and Africa and so weakens the immune system that some two million die each year of diseases they would otherwise survive.
Micheal D. Purugganan, a professor of genomics and biology and the dean for science at New York University, said” There’s so much misinformation floating around about G.M.O.’s that is taken as fact by people. The genes they inserted to make the vitamin are not some weird manufactured material, but are also found in squash, carrots and melons.”
It’s really have risk for people to eat GMO rice. The potential of crops like Golden Rice can alleviate suffering. But false fears can destroy it.