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Golden Rice

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The second generation

Limitation of the first generation: The birth of Golden Rice was a significant scientific breakthrough, but not every one supports it. This is because, according to the experimental report, carotenoid content of the Golden Rice line GR1 is low, 1.6 μg/g to the maximum. This amount is about only 1/10 of carrot carotenoid content (Terry, 2011). This point had been criticized by media and opponents of the Golden Rice for a long time. But it is true that yields of beta-carotene should be promoted. After the first generation of Golden Rice, studies aiming at increasing the provitamin A production in rice endosperm started immediately.

However, the gap is not filled easily. Breeders have tried to increase the expression of crtI gene expression by using new version of crtI invert vectors and increase precursor amount by inducing exogenous enzymes genes.  But none of these processes have increased the beta- carotene production.

Finally, after comparing psy genes from different plants in a maize tissue culture model system, psy from maize lead to a significant increase in carotenoid biosynthesis. This discovery then became the foundation of the second generation of Golden Rice (called GR2).

Golden Rice 2: The second generation of Golden Rice was developed by Syngenta and many cooperators. The new line expresses the phytoene synthase from maize. More importantly, the amounts of carotenoids synthesized are increased to 37 mg/g, of which 84% is beta-carotene. Statistically, 72 g of dry GR2 rice is estimated to provide 50% of a child’s Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin A. This amount has been at a same level as carrot, which means it is large enough.

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