PerspectivePlant Biology

The Green Revolution Strikes Gold

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Science  14 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5451, pp. 241-243
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5451.241

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Engineering plants to improve their nutritional value would be of great benefit to developing countries. As Guerinot explains in a Perspective, half of the world's population consume rice as a staple food, yet rice is devoid of many essential nutrients such as vitamin A and iron. Now Ye et al. report that they have successfully engineered rice plants to produce b-carotene (from which vitamin A is made) in the endosperm of the rice grain. As soon as true-breeding lines of this engineered rice are established, seeds will be freely available to farmers in developing countries. This should help to ameliorate vitamin A deficiency, which is widespread in poor parts of the world.