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+ New Golden Rice Partners Join Forces against Vitamin A Deficiency. IRRI

IRRI, April 14, 2011

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and national rice research institutes in Bangladesh and the Philippines have joined with Helen Keller International (HKI) in a new effort to further develop and evaluate vitamin-A-enhanced "Golden Rice" as a potential tool to reduce vitamin A deficiency, this press release reports. This non-profit Golden Rice project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation in the U.S., the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other donors. "IRRI and its partners have been working on Golden Rice for about ten years to develop a safe and effective way to address vitamin A deficiency, prevent blindness, and save lives," says IRRI's Gerard Barry, coordinator of the Golden Rice Network. "Our latest stage of work is now supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and will bring in HKI - a new partner from the nutrition sector – to further understand how well Golden Rice can reduce vitamin A deficiency." The Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) are leading the development of Golden Rice varieties in their countries. According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, daily consumption of a very modest amount of Golden Rice – about a cup (or around 150 g uncooked weight) – could supply 50 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin A for an adult. "Since a large proportion of vitamin A–deficient children and their mothers reside in rice-consuming populations, particularly in Asia, Golden Rice should substantially reduce the prevalence and severity of vitamin A deficiency, and prevent at least hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths and cases of blindness every year," says Alfred Sommer, professor and dean emeritus at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the U.S. Golden Rice is expected to cost farmers about the same as other rice, and they will be able to save seeds for replanting. The press release can be viewed online at the link below.

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