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2-Plants: GE Bangladesh rice awaits biosafety approval

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TITLE:  Modified Bangladesh rice awaits biosafety approval
SOURCE: Daily Times, Pakistan, by Saleem Samad
DATE:   Feb 8, 2003

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Modified Bangladesh rice awaits biosafety approval

DHAKA: Scientists in Bangladesh have successfully modified BR29, a
variety of rice to supplement vitamin A as a panacea for blindness in
children but the rice will only be brought to Bangladesh once the
National Committee on Biosafety of Bangladesh (NCBB) is formed. BR29 is
Bangladesh's most productive rice variety and has been genetically
engineered to fight vitamin A deficiencies, according to the Daily Star
Friday. Nurul Islam Bhuiyan, director-general, Bangladesh Rice Research
Institute (BRRI), told Daily Times that breeders at his institute would
test its local adaptability. Bangladesh needs to have bio-safety
regulations in place to check biohazards related to genetically
engineered crops. BR29, developed by the BRRI in 1994, is the most
productive among 41 high-yielding varieties. India, China, Vietnam,
Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar also cultivate it. Millions of people in South
Asia, especially women and children, suffer from chronic vitamin A
deficiency that leads to blindness in the worst cases. The golden-
coloured rice is capable of producing beta-carotene, a substance the
human body can convert to vitamin A. It is produced by splicing three
foreign genes - two from daffodils and one from a bacterium - into
japonica rice, a variety adapted to temperate climates.