Re: BIOTECH: Micronutrient rice

Robert J. Bradbury (
Mon, 23 Aug 1999 09:56:45 -0700 (PDT)

On Mon, 23 Aug 1999, Brian D Williams provided

a comment on the genetic engineering of rice to provide both vitamin A and iron.

This goes back to some degree to the "nutriceuticals" that I had to run through at the Extro4 conference.

People will find engineered crops *much* more acceptable if you tell them they are *better* for *them* instead of being *better* for the farmers (with insect resistance).

I'll be interested to see what happens if they engineer say something like cabbage to take out the toxins that are "theoretically" carcinogenic. Then you market the engineered cabbage as *less* toxic than natural cabbage (with data from some scientific studies proving it to be the case). I'll lay odds that the "naturalists" will still be unimpressed.

All of the crops I've seen so far have either been for the benefit of the farmer (Bt-enhanced crops), the consumer's pocketbook (i.e. the Calgene tomato & indirectly the Bt-enhanced crops) and perhaps the seed producer (by engineering in ways to make the crop sterile, so you have to by more seed from the seed producer).

It is interesting that if public labs get into the business of producing engineered enhancements in non-sterile seeds, then industry would be forced to follow suit. For many years industry didn't want to do genetically engineered crops because they couldn't figure out how to make them sterile. It interesting that this is a case where government
"competition" could force technology development
in industry.