Tackling hidden hunger: Biofortified Genetically Engineered Foods Increase Iron, Zinc and Vitamin A

Golden Rice grain compared to white rice grain in screenhouse of Golden Rice plants.

Today, most of us do get enough to eat, in terms of calories, but we still may not be getting our essential micronutrients, such as iron and zinc. In other words, our focus has shifted from quantity to quality. This ‘hidden hunger’, a term used to describe dietary micronutrient deficiencies, must be taken care of. The answer, find researchers, is biofortification.

Golden rice is a variety of rice produced through genetic engineering to biosynthesise beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, in the edible parts of rice.

The most common micronutrient deficiencies are iron and zinc, with 2 billion people affected worldwide with anaemia (30% of the world’s population), says the World Health Organization. Vitamin A deficiency is not far behind. This triad, vital to our health, especially for the development of children, women, and other vulnerable sections (seniors or those who have low immunity), is the focus of biofortification research.

The Genetic Literacy Project