I just finished reading an article called New ‘golden rice’ offers 3 micronutrients1 which would go a long way to solving malnutrition in a significant portion of the world. The article mentions that about 50% of the world uses rice as their primary means of nutrition.
The natural varieties of rice don’t provide Iron, Zinc, or Vitamin A which are sources of various diseases that are not normally encountered in western countries. The new GMO rice has Iron, Zinc, and Beta-Carotene ( Vitamin A precursor). This is a fantastic accomplishment. I can see this helping to solve world hunger and malnutrition needs. However, it is GMO, and releasing GMO foods into nature are presenting issues in the developed world.
One needs only to look at farmers in the US who are having their crops destroyed by weed-killer that does not affect GMO modified varieties that are modified to be tolerant. A recent example is soybeans in the Southern US2. There are also the question of whether GMO crops can resist some diseases that the natural varieties can, as well as, survive in their native climates (don’t plant a palm tree in the desert and cacti in a rain forest)3.
Balance, I know that we must find a balance between third-world issues like malnutrition, and first world issues like GMO crops. However, I think we as responsible citizens need to pay more attention and oversight into the release of these modified species into the wild. We can’t put the djinni back in the bottle once it has been released. I want to solve the malnutrition, and hunger issues, but not at the future peril of all food crops.