Week 6\Golden Rice\Marian Portugal

Biotechnology was an idea that I was never familiar with.  After learning about it and the crazy creations that can come from it, however, my interest for this subject has begun to develop.  I researched online to learn more about biotechnology and came across a website that gave several examples that resulted from biotechnology.  One of them, called “golden rice,” caught my attention. 

            Golden rice, unlike regular white rice or brown rice, is genetically modified to be rich in beta carotene.  Beta carotene is an organic compound often found in plants and fruits such as carrots, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and green leaf lettuce, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe.  It is important to the human body because it is a precursor for vitamin A.  Vitamin A is extremely important for the human body because it plays a role in several functions such as helping to maintain vision, gene transcription, immune function, embryonic development and reproduction, bone metabolism, haematopoiesis, (formation of blood cellular components), skin health, reducing the risk of heart disease, and antioxidant activity.  I was particularly intrigued by golden rice because it has the potential to make a change in our world that can effect our human population in a positive direction, as opposed to mice with human ears on their backs or glowing rabbits.  Golden rice improves the health of anyone who consumes it, because the beta carotene inside of it helps prevent several diseases and disabilities.  Not only does golden rice affect our health, it also serves as an economic relief for those consuming it.  This is because they will not have to spend any more money on vitamin A dietary supplements, because it is already in their rice.

            The part about golden rice that makes me like this example of biotechnology over all others is that it has a purpose.  Unlike other biotechnological creations, like the mice with human ears and the glowing rabbit, the creators of golden rice wanted to find a way to improve our world’s overall health.  Also, it has the ability to affect everyone—it does not exclude itself to people of a specific gender, race, or ethnicity.

            Although this is going off topic, I began to wonder why the creators of golden rice decided to name it “golden rice.”  One obvious reason would be because of the color it adopts from the beta carotene inside of it, but then I thought if the word “golden” contained any connotations that would make it more appealing to the public.  To me, I associate “golden” with words like “exceptional,” “prosperous,” and “bountiful.”  Like the Golden Ratio, golden rice is then meant to be seen as “perfect.”  Only time, however, will tell if it really is perfect in its power to change our lives.

 

http://www.goldenrice.org/

http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.htm?programID=09-P13-00005&segmentID=3

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