Golden Rice
Aiza Bragg
University Transition Program
Floor Location : M 203 H

Vitamin A Deficiency is a health condition which causes 1-2 million of deaths yearly. As genetic technology reaches a peak, scientists have turned to genetic engineering and GMOs to solve crises like malnutrition, world hunger, and VAD. Over the past decade, Golden Rice has emerged as a “miracle food”: genetically modified rice created to provide large amounts of beta-carotene (which synthesizes into Vitamin A) to the consumer. While it has been used so far for humanitarian purposes, the project received backlash from both scientific and ethical communities, drawing on past trials, corporate influence and corruption, contamination, and genetic malfunctions as proof that Golden Rice trials should be stopped. While recent scientific studies show that Golden Rice performs better than spinach and as well as supplements in providing Vitamin A to Vitamin-A-deficient children, alternatives such as biofortified cassava, orange maize, and sweet potato outperform Golden Rice by Vitamin A contents that are over 5 times higher than that of Golden Rice. On the other hand, Golden Rice has the backing of a large corporation, and does increase Vitamin A content. However, neither Golden Rice nor its alternatives deal with the root of VAD and malnutrition: world poverty and government neglect. The excessive funding of Golden Rice could be better spent on either the biofortified alternatives, or on ending poverty globally. Because VAD is a vastly political and ethical issue, the answer cannot be solved with a simple scientific answer. This study aimed to compare Golden Rice to its alternatives, and decide if the benefits of Golden Rice outweigh the issues; eventually coming to the conclusion that Golden Rice can only be beneficial if several regulations are implemented around its use, and in fact the alternatives would be much more beneficial than the rice itself.