Vitamin A is one of the most important nutrients the body requires. While it is easy in developed countries to get enough Vitamin A each day from different sources, in many developing countries like Uganda the toll from Vitamin A deficiency is frighteningly high. As “Genetically Engineered Bananas: Frankenfruit or Life-Saving Miracle?” from Shape magazine states, the numbers equal out to about 2 million deaths each year, and 500,000 cases of irreversible blindness. The article laments the numbers because Vitamin A deficiency is actually easily avoided with a simple supplement each day, but the challenge of developing countries is they cannot manufacture and distribute those supplements to their people. That’s where the idea of the enriched banana comes in.
The goal of the enriched banana project was one much akin to the goal undertaken with golden rice, another staple crop that feeds billions in poorer parts of the world. By increasing the amount of Vitamin A available in bananas, the hope is that the crop can be planted in places like Uganda where it will grow well and thrive, providing an easy means of giving the necessary Vitamin A to the people to protect them from the dangers of Vitamin A deficiency. The article states that only about one banana is needed each day to give that protection, and for billions of people in these areas it can make a life changing impact.
The creators of the enriched banana acknowledge though that while they have beneficial goals, they have a hard fight ahead of them to bring the plan to fruition. People are afraid of genetic modification of food, although the Shape article points out that it would be more correct to label the banana a genetically engineered organism, rather than a gmo. This is because the enriching of the bananas isn’t achieved from inserting a gene into the banana that isn’t naturally there- it’s actually using the existing genetic structure of the banana and just changing how it operates. Some hope the naming difference of geo and gmo might be enough to dodge the controversy that often stalls or outright shuts down the implementation of such foods. The scientists aren’t so sure, and are already prepared for activists to against the video porno gratis, the article points out.
The controversy, while time consuming in developed countries, can pose a bigger danger to people in developed countries. The article reports that golden rice, though also fought against, has managed to save upwards of one million children’s lives per day, and the hope is that the bananas can achieve something similar. Also like the golden rice, the bananas look just a little physically different from regular bananas- whereas regular bananas often look green or yellow on their peels, the enriched bananas have a more orange tinge to their skins.
For now, the enriched banana is set to go through a series of clinical trials so as to see if it meets the rigorous testing standards for toxicity, allergens, side effects, and other categories as set forth by the FDA and other regulatory government bodies. It is hoped that, if the bananas can pass such trials, and if they can survive the scrutiny and protesting that follows the food approval process that they can begin to be distributed around the world by 2020. From there time will tell if the enrichment process of the genetically enriched organism is enough to save the millions in need of Vitamin A each year, or if the project itself wasn’t quite as super as everyone else had believe it was.
Anderson, C.H. (2016). Genetically Engineered Bananas: Frankenfruit or Life-Saving Miracle? Shape. Retrieved on May 5, 2016 from http://www.shape.com/blogs/fit-foodies/genetically-engineered-bananas-frankenfruit-or-life-saving-miracle