Vitamin E Vitamin E


Chinese Scientists Genetically Engineer Purple Rice Rich in Antioxidants

New Atlas reports that Chinese scientists are hard at work in the field of genetic engineering (GE). They have created rice with a purple hue. It derives its color from antioxidant rich anthocyanins, the same compound found in blueberries and grapes.

This is not the first effort to engineer nutritionally enhanced rice and it is unlikely to turn out any better than previous efforts. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has dumped millions of dollars toward the development of "golden rice" — an untested, highly controversial GE crop that threatens biodiversity and risks bringing economic and ecological disaster to Asia's farms.

One of the inherent problems with genetic engineering is the assumption that you can modify one aspect of a plant or animal without affecting others — an assumption that doesn't always pan out in practice. Compared to natural genetic modification, artificial genetic modification is inherently hazardous because it lacks the precision of the natural process, while enabling genes to be transferred between species that would never have been exchanged otherwise.

Proponents of genetic engineering claim it is the most effective way to feed the world, by producing plants unnaturally equipped with internally produced insecticides, or with genes making them resistant to chemical herbicides or, in the case of Purple Rice, containing enhanced nutrition. Some are advertised as drought resistant and/or higher yield producing, but the truth turns out to be quite different.

GE plants may produce foreign proteins making them potentially allergenic and often they require more pesticides and herbicides than conventional crops, while producing lower yields.
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