’Golden rice’ is rice genetically-engineered to include carotenoid. Carotenoid is a precursor of Vitamin A, which (as Matt Ridley explains in the second part of this article in the London Spectator) is “a crucial ingredient of vision. The genes for making carotenoids are lacking in human beings, which is why we must eat vitamin A or go blind. The gene is also lacking in rice grains, so a person who subsists largely on rice may go blind. Approximately 500,000 children in the developing world suffer this exact fate every year, and determined efforts by aid agencies to get vitamin supplements or green vegetables to these people have so far failed.
Along comes Ingo Potrykus of Switzerland with a simple solution. Why not genetically engineer a rice plant so that it has the genes to make carotenoids in its grains? So he took the necessary genes from a daffodil and put them into rice. In effect, he added the word ‘carotenoid’ to the rice plant’s book. He soon had a form of rice that was identical in every respect, except that eating just 200 grams of it a day gave you a daily sufficiency of vitamin A. (Further refinements, including the addition of vitamin E’s precursor, have since made the rice even more health-giving.) ”
The reaction of the Greens? They are successfully opposing the introduction of this frightening ‘GM’ rice, a rice that can save sight.