Golden RiceGenetically engineered crops can be the topic of many polarizing conversations. Golden Rice, a genetically engineered crop, is not immune to this. Golden Rice Project (2018) explains that golden rice was developed by adding two genes, a plant phytoene synthase and a bacterial phytoene desaturase.
Doing this turns on a pre-existing pathway, causing beta carotene to accumulate in the grain. Grune et al (2010) explain that Beta carotene is an optimal, naturally occurring, provitamin A. Vitamin A is important to growth, development, immune function, and vision. According to the International Rice Research Institute, in 2014 a vitamin A deficiency still affected approximately 1.7 million children (15.2%) aged 6 months to 5 years in the Philippines. A second generation, GR2, was developed to provide more carotenoids than the first generation. (Golden Rice Project, 2018) The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is conducting field trials.
On August 8, 2013 one of five IRRI trial fields of GR2 was destroyed in the Philippines. Protestors tore down fences, swarmed over the field, and uprooted rice stalks. (Kupferschmidt, 2013). According to agriculture officials, militants belonging to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and other leftist groups opposing genetically-modified (GM) crops were responsible. (Malig, 2013) One thing is sure, there will continue to be disagreement in the future about genetically engineered crops.