Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Golden Rice for Golden Life

 

21,000 people die of hunger or hunger-related reasons every day.

 

That is one person every four seconds.

 

Most of these are children.

 

By the time you get to the end of this short post over 50 people will have died of hunger related issues.

 

How can we allow this to happen? How can we allow young children to die when there is something we can do about?

 

Genetically Modified Foods is what I’m talking about.

 

Genetically modified foods vary dramatically in what has been done to them and what they can do for us. One particular type of genetically modified food that could be a literal lifesaver to those in developing countries is golden rice.

 

As we all know, rice is a staple in most developing countries as it is cheap and easy to grow and also is very filling for whoever is eating it. But what if we could do more with it? What if we could fill it with a crucial vitamin that we all require, one that many people in developing countries are lacking? I’m talking about vitamin A.

 

This is the basis of the golden rice project.

 

The science behind golden rice is that the gene in the grain that produces beta-carotene has been turned on. Beta-carotene is what gives fruit and vegetables that yellow colour, and it is also means that they contain vitamin A.

 

Doing something as simple as turning on this gene means that one of the world’s staple foods, especially a staple in developing countries, can now contain an essential vitamin. A single bowl can provide a child with 60% of their daily vitamin A needs.

 

Some people are are attempting to argue that this technology is simply profit driven. That the people creating these crops are just looking to make money. I say, who cares? Even if this is their motives, what does it matter? This technology has the power to save tens of thousands of lives, so what does it matter if they are simply doing it to make money (however I would also like to believe that they are doing it for the greater good of the world as well).

 

Golden rice is still undergoing testing and development and it is trying to battle a lot of red tape to be introduced to the market. People are still fighting it for whatever reason they have created in their own heads, whether it be simply because they believe that nature shouldn’t be messed with, even if it could save thousands of lives. Who knows at this point?

 

I just hope, and I will fight for, this technology to be made available to those who need it. I will fight for people all over the world to be healthier, happier and to live a longer life. I will fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.

References:

http://www.poverty.com/

 

http://www.goldenrice.org/Content2-How/how1_sci.php

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/03/07/173611461/in-a-grain-of-golden-rice-a-world-of-controversy-over-gmo-foods

 

http://www.fao.org/docrep/u8480e/u8480e07.htm

Picture: http://www.northeastern.edu/sei/2015/11/lessons-from-the-golden-rice-debate/

 

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3 comments on “Golden Rice for Golden Life

  1. jkanjodeakin
    May 5, 2016

    Just a small arithmetic issue.

    21,000 people die each year of hunger ≠ 1 person dies every 4 seconds.

    21000 ÷ 365.25 (average number of days per year)
    = 57.5 people dying each day

    57.5 ÷ 24 (hours per day)
    = 2.4 people dying each hour

    2.4 ÷ 60 (minutes per hour)
    = 0.04 people dying each minute

    1 ÷ 0.04 (Inverse of people dying per minute)
    = 25 = Every 25 minutes, a person dies of hunger.

    A person dying of hunger every 25 minutes is still tragic, but it’s 375× better than a person dying every 4 seconds (a significant difference). Unless 21,000 is a typographical error.

    You don’t want people to believe in your argument on the basis of false statistics, use real ones 😉

    Like

    • jcollinsweb
      May 7, 2016

      So sorry, it was meant to be 21,000 every day. Thank you for pointing this out, I will correct it

      Like

  2. Mark H
    May 8, 2016

    Hey, an interesting post on a rather serious and important issue.

    As I was reading your post I found myself agreeing with the research and science you wrote (as someone who doesn’t really care either way about gm crops it wasn’t really hard) however in reading about this golden rice I ended wondering what exact effects a lack of Vitamin A actually had. So, as someone who’s not exactly knowledgeable on nutrition, I was a bit surprised at just how important it really is and how impactful it’s introduction into a staple food like rice would be.

    Regardless well written, but maybe the inclusion of importance of vitamin A or the effects of it’s deficiency might be a plus for people who aren’t very knowledgeable such as myself,

    Like

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This entry was posted on April 21, 2016 by in Burwood - Friday 2pm.

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