A variety of Oryza sativa (rice) genetically engineered using recombinant DNA technology, Golden Rice contains beta carotene, an antioxidant which the body converts into Vitamin A. This gives the rice grain the yellow-orange or gold color that inspired its name.
However, the Golden Rice project is still on its way to completion. Its path, as expected, has not entirely been bright and shiny.
The road to Golden Rice
The Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is working with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) towards further developing and completing the Golden Rice project in the Philippines.
The process involves different stages: research, confined field testing, field trials, safety assessments, market tests, and nutrition studies. Nevertheless, multiple rounds of trials and errors are bringing scientists closer to fully developing safe, genetically modified rice varieties with benefits that conventional varieties do not provide.
In the early stages of the project, researchers isolated specific genes from maize (a cereal grain originally from Central America) and common soil bacteria with desired traits for Golden Rice. A screen house setup then allowed for the creation of different local rice varieties.
A series of confined tests followed, where Golden Rice varieties created in the screen house were further improved to retain the same grain quality, yield, and pest resistance. Read more