Golden rice: What role could it play in allevi ation of vitamin A deficiency?
Golden rice (GR) is a new rice variety that has been genetically modified to contain beta-carotene, a source of vA. This modification was undertaken as a strategy to address VAD, which is widespread in less developed countries of Asia. Children’s food intake data from a poor rural region of the Philippines are used to simulate the potential impact of GR on vA intake. The potential impact, coverage of deficient subpopulations, and costs of GR are compared to two other interventions, food fortification and supplementation. While investments in future development of GR compare favorably with other interventions in terms of costs and coverage, GR would deliver amounts of vA that are modest, and unlikely to fulfill requirements. Thus, it should be viewed as a complement to existing interventions. To have greatest impact at a cost comparable with wheat fortification, GR varieties should be suited for widespread adoption in Asia and should deliver as much beta-carotene as possible.
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