New Genetically Modified Rice Could Reduce Childhood Blindness 
10/19/2005 5:13:07 PM

Scientists in Britain have developed a strain of genetically modified rice which they say could reduce vitamin A deficiency and childhood blindness in developing countries, the BBC said. The biotechnology firm Syngenta's laboratories in Britain has developed a strain of "golden rice" that produces around 20 times as much beta-carotine -- which the body converts to Vitamin A -- as previous varieties, it reported. The World Health Organization (news - web sites) estimates that up to 500,000 children go blind each year because of vitamin A deficiency. Syngenta said it is making the new rice strain available for free to research centers across Asia, which will begin field trials if they receive approval from their governments, according to the BBC.