Rice has been a staple food for many countries. That is why it is one of the most important crops that is extensively grown in many parts of the world. But genetic modification may provide another use for the rice staple other than being food for the world’s hungry. Growing GM Rice may someday help in the field of medicine.
According to a news article found in the GMWatch.org website (http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7887), the US government has given the approval to a biotech company to plant GM rice that has been modified in order to produce human proteins.
Ventria Bioscience has been given the go ahead signal to plant about 250 acres of genetically modified rice in Geary County, Kansas that can produce human proteins that can be used in medicines to treat diarrhea. Although the company has been growing the genetically modified rice for over nine years, it is only now that the US government has given the approval for growing such genetically modified crops aside for human consumption.
Although the cultivation of the said genetically modified crop has been approved by the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, there are still some growing concerns that the GM crop may contaminate the natural food and feed supply.
A similar contamination incident has happened about a year before where a genetically modified strain of long grain rice that was developed by Bayer CropScience found its way into the commercial rice bins in Arkansas and Missouri although the said genetically modified rice has not yet been cleared for food use.
This discovery led to concerns that such an untested species of GM rice may have some considerable effects on the natural breeds. And due to lack of testing, the effects may have caused a scare into the scientific community, wondering what such GM crops may be able to cause on a worldwide scale.
In order to prevent such an event from happening again, the cultivation of the new GM rice is to be undertaken in an area where rice production is not existent. This will ensure that the new GM rice would not have any chance of contaminating and be propagated among other species of rice, with possible drastic consequences.
This has become an even more important concern since the new GM rice being cultivated by Ventria is intended for pharmaceutical use and not as a food source. For this reason, every step to avoid uncontrolled propagation is important and essential to ease fears and concerns.