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Genetically modified bananas could save hundreds of thousands of lives

PAUL ET AL, PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGY JOURNAL/WILEY / NEWSWEEK

Scientists from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia have made a dark gold-colored banana that is rich in pro-vitamin A, which the body converts to vitamin A. They think it could help save some of the hundreds of thousands of children who die every year from a deficit in the vitamin. The scientists combined the genes of a Papau New Guinea banana species high in provitamin A with those of the common banana.

"Achieving these scientific results along with their publication, is a major milestone in our quest to deliver a more nutritional diet to some of the poorest subsistence communities in Africa," said James Dale, who led the research.

We've seen this before.

Before the golden banana, there was

golden rice

. In 2000, a team of researchers created a vitamin A-rich grain of rice but the rice has grown poorly in field trials and still isn't ready for the market.

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