by Lena Elisabeth Faust, University of Toronto
"Golden Rice grains" © International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
“Golden Rice grains” © International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)


Vitamin A deficiency is a condition primarily affecting young children and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, who do not have regular access to Vitamin A-rich foods.1Vitamin A deficiency is the cause of over 5.2 million cases of blindness in children around the world.2 Furthermore, this deficiency has even more severe immunological effects, which can lead to increased mortality rates among affected individuals. It is estimated that Vitamin A deficiency causes up to 2.5 million deaths per year. A promising development in the field of genetic engineering hopes to provide a sustainable solution to the problem in the form of biosynthetic, Vitamin A-rich rice, but its commercial implementation remains a challenge.