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30th May 2024 (13 Topics)

Science & Technology (Biotechnology)

Context

A recent court ruling in the Philippines has garnered international attention for its implications on the commercial propagation of genetically modified (GM) golden rice and Bt eggplant.

About

  • Golden rice, named for its vibrant yellow hue, was developed to address micronutrient deficiencies by enhancing levels of iron, zinc, and beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A.
  • In 2021, the Philippines became the first nation to approve the commercial production of golden rice.
  • Proponents of GM crops argue that the decision could have detrimental effects on children suffering from vitamin A deficiency.
  • Global Impact of Vitamin A Deficiency
    • Vitamin A deficiency is a condition classified as a public health problem by the World Health Organization.
    • It affects approximately one-third of children aged 6 to 59 months globally, with the highest prevalence observed in sub-Saharan Africa (48%) and South Asia (44%).

Fact Box: Micronutrients

  • Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals needed by the body in very small amounts.
  • However, their impact on a body’s health are critical.
  • Deficiency in any of them can cause severe and even life-threatening conditions.
  • They perform a range of functions, including enabling the body to produce enzymes, hormones and other substances needed for normal growth and development.
  • Example: Vitamins A, D, E, and K, Iron, manganese, copper, zinc, iodine, fluoride, selenium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, chloride, potassium, sulphur

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