India’s department of biotechnology and the Queensland University of Technology once joined together to create an iron enriched, genetically modified banana, and now Professor James Dale of Queensland University of Technology has decided to take it a step further. With funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, Queensland University of Technology plans to create a genetically modified banana that’s enriched with vitamin A. This genetically modified organism (GMO) is now in America for the first human testing trial.
The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has granted Professor James Dale with $10 million dollars of funding for his project. Dale’s project has been dubbed one of the most important GMO projects of today.
Researchers participating in this project in Brisbane grew orange-tinted, genetically modified bananas in field station located in Australia, and after harvesting, they flew the bananas to Iowa. The genetically modified bananas had to have special permits in order to be transferred into America.Citizens of Iowa helped with the experiment by eating the unique tasting banana (which have a slight orange taste), and provided blood samples after they’re done eating. Each person participating in the human trial received $900.
Some people refuse the idea of genetically modified food because of the risks behind it. Researchers once produced a type of golden rice that landed them straight into a massive controversy. They did a trial with the genetically enriched rice in China and fed it to children, which caused a massive uproar of protests. The government had not approved their rice, therefore, the researchers were denounced for failing to disclose their information.
The Iowa trial with the GMO bananas is not likely to stir up controversy, considering it has been passed by government and the testers are being paid. Still, researchers are reluctant to discuss the GMO bananas with the public. Wendy White, a researcher at Iowa State University who is helping with the modified bananas, doesn’t wish to speak about their experiments or else she may not be able to publish her findings.
If the banana successfully increases vitamin A in the bloodstreams of volunteers, it still may not work as an effective solution for those living in 3rd world countries who are deprived of such nutrients. Obstacles still remain in this GMO bananas, like government approvals, issues with growing the bananas, and going against the opinions of those who are against modified foods.
There have also been a few studies which indicate that there needs to be a few more experiments done on the bananas that involve more detailed investigations. The threat of controversy arises when GMO farmers refuse to pay attention to specific research and avoid discussion with others.
Source: The Mind Unleashed
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