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Golden Rice Communication Toolkit

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Tang, G., Y. Hu, S. Yin, Y. Wang, G. Dallal, M. Grusak, and R. Russell. 2012. Beta-carotene in Golden Rice is as good as beta-carotene in oil at providing vitamin A to children. 

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 96(3)658–664

The beta-carotene in Golden Rice is as effective as pure beta-carotene in oil and better than that in spinach at providing vitamin A to children. A bowl of ∼100 to 150 g cooked Golden Rice (50 g dry weight) can provide ∼60% of the Chinese Recommended Nutrient Intake of vitamin A for 6–8-year-old children.

Black RE et al. 2008. Maternal and child undernutrition: global and regional exposures and health consequences. 

The Lancet 371(9608):253

Maternal and child undernutrition is highly prevalent in low-income and middle-income countries, resulting in substantial increases in mortality and overall disease burden. Deficiencies of vitamin A and zinc were estimated to be responsible for 0·6 million and 0·4 million deaths, respectively, and a combined 9% of global childhood disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs). The high mortality and disease burden resulting from these nutrition-related factors make a compelling case for the urgent implementation of interventions to reduce their occurrence or ameliorate their consequences.

Paine JA et al. 2005. Improving the nutritional value of Golden Rice through increased pro-vitamin A content. 

Nature Biotechnology 23:482–487

Golden Rice is a variety of rice engineered to produce beta-carotene to help combat vitamin A deficiency. It has been predicted that its contribution to alleviating vitamin A deficiency would be substantially improved through even higher beta-carotene content.

World Health Organization Global Database on Vitamin A Deficiency. 2009. 

Global prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in populations at risk, 1995–2005. Geneva: WHO

The understanding of how the prevalence of VAD and the factors related to its development vary by population subgroup, geography, level of development, and other social and economic factors will make interventions easier to select and target to the most appropriate populations.

Tang G, Qin J, Dolnikowski GG, Russel RM, Grusak MA. 2009. Golden Rice is an effective source of vitamin A. 

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 89:1776–83

Beta-carotene derived from Golden Rice is effectively converted to vitamin A in humans.

West KP, Klemm RDW, Sommer A. 2010. Vitamin A saves lives, sound policy, sound science [Commentary]. 

World Nutrition 1(5):211-229

Vitamin A supplementation programs effectively and safely reduce child mortality. Children need to consume diets containing far more beta-carotene from plain foods than previously supposed.

Whitcher JP, Srinivasan M, Upadhyay MP. 2001. Corneal blindness: a global perspective. 

Bulletin of the World Health Organization 79(3):217

Diseases affecting the cornea are a major cause of blindness worldwide, second only to cataract in overall importance. While cataract is responsible for nearly 20 million of the 45 million blind people in the world, the next major cause is trachoma which blinds 4.9 million individuals, mainly as a result of corneal scarring and vascularization.

Xudong Y et al. 2000. Engineering the provitamin A (ß-carotene) biosynthetic pathway into (carotenoid-free) rice endosperm. 

Science 287(5451):303–305

Endosperm, the remaining edible part of rice grains after it is milled, lacks several essential nutrients such as provitamin A. Thus, predominant rice consumption promotes vitamin A deficiency – a serious public health problem in at least 26 countries including highly populated areas in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Recombinant DNA technology was used to improve its nutritional value in this respect. A combination of transgenes enabled biosynthesis of provitamin A in the endosperm.

B. P. Mallikarjuna Swamy, Mercy Samia, Raul Boncodin, Severino Marundan, Democrito B. Rebong, Reynante L. Ordonio, Ronalyn T. Miranda, Anna T. O. Rebong, Anielyn Y. Alibuyog, Cheryl C. Adeva, Russell Reinke, Donald J. MacKenzie. 2019. Compositional Analysis of Genetically Engineered GR2E “Golden Rice” in Comparison to That of Conventional Rice

J. Agric. Food Chem. 2019 67 28 7986-7994

Summary: Compositional analyses were performed on samples of rice grain, straw, and derived bran obtained from golden rice event GR2E and near-isogenic control PSBRc82 rice grown at four locations in the Philippines during 2015 and 2016. Grain samples were analyzed for key nutritional components, including proximates, fiber, polysaccharides, fatty acids, amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and antinutrients. Samples of straw and bran were analyzed for proximates and minerals. The only biologically meaningful difference between GR2E and control rice was in levels of β-carotene and other provitamin A carotenoids in the grain. Except for β-carotene and related carotenoids, the compositional parameters of GR2E rice were within the range of natural variability of those components in conventional rice varieties with a history of safe consumption. Mean provitamin A concentrations in milled rice of GR2E can contribute up to 89–113% and 57–99% of the estimated average requirement for vitamin A for preschool children in Bangladesh and the Philippines, respectively.

Norman Oliva, Maria Florida Cueto-Reaño, Kurniawan R. Trijatmiko, Mercy Samia, Ralf Welsch, Patrick Schaub, Peter Beyer, Donald Mackenzie, Raul Boncodin, Russell Reinke, Inez Slamet-Loedin & B. P. Mallikarjuna Swamy. 2020. Molecular characterization and safety assessment of biofortified provitamin A rice

Sci Rep 10, 1376

Part of the studies involved in safety assessment of genetically engineered crops includes characterizing the organization, integrity, and stability of the inserted DNA and evaluating the potential allergenicity and toxicity of newly-expressed proteins. Molecular characterization of the introduced DNA in provitamin A biofortified rice event GR2E confirmed insertion of a single copy of the transfer-DNA in the genome and its inheritance as a single locus. Nucleotide sequencing of the inserted DNA confirmed it was introduced without modifications. The phytoene synthase, and carotene desaturase proteins did not display sequence similarity with allergens or toxins. Both proteins were rapidly digested in simulated gastric fluid and their enzymatic activity was inhibited upon heat treatment. Acute oral toxicity testing of the protein in mice demonstrated lack of adverse effects. These evidences substantiated the lack of any identifiable hazards for both proteins and in combination with other existing comparative analyses provided assurance that food derived from this rice is safe. This conclusion is in line with those of the regulatory agencies of US Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada and Food Standard Australia and New Zealand.

Dominique Van Der Straeten, Navreet K. Bhullar, Hans De Steur, Wilhelm Gruissem, Donald MacKenzie, Wolfgang Pfeiffer, Matin Qaim, Inez Slamet-Loedin, Simon Strobbe, Joe Tohme, Kurniawan Rudi Trijatmiko, Hervé Vanderschuren, Marc Van Montau, Chunyi Zhang & Howarth Bouis. Multiplying the efficiency and impact of biofortification through metabolic engineering.

Nat Commun 11, 5203 (2020)


Ending all forms of hunger by 2030, as set forward in the UN-Sustainable Development Goal 2 (UN-SDG 2), is a daunting but essential task, given the limited timeline ahead and the negative global health and socio-economic impact of hunger. Malnutrition or hidden hunger due to micronutrient deficiencies affecrs about one third of the world population and severely jeopardizes economic development. Staple crop biofortification through gene stacking, using a rational combination of conventional breeding and metabolic engineering strategies, should enable a leap forward within the coming decade. A number of specific actions and policy interventions are proposed to reach this goal.

B.P. Mallikarjuna Swamy, Severino Marundan Jr., Mercy Samia, Reynante L. Ordonio, Democrito B. Rebong, Ronalyn Miranda, Anielyn Alibuyog, Anna Theresa Rebong, Ma. Angela Tabil, Roel R. Suralta, Antonio A. Alfonso, Partha Sarathi Biswas, Md. Abdul Kader, Russell F. Reinke, Raul Boncodin & Donald J. MacKenzie. Development and characterization of GR2E Golden rice introgression lines.

Sci Rep 11, 2496 (2021)


Golden Rice with β-carotene in the grain helps to address the problem of vitamin A deficiency. Prior to commercialize Golden Rice, several performance and regulatory checkpoints must be achieved. We report results of marker assisted backcross breeding of the GR2E trait into three popular rice varieties followed by a series of confined field tests of event GR2E introgression lines to assess their agronomic performance and carotenoid expression. Results from confined tests in the Philippines and Bangladesh have shown that GR2E introgression lines matched the performance of the recurrent parents for agronomic and yield performance, and the key components of grain quality. Moreover, no differences were observed in terms of pest and disease reaction. The best performing lines identified in each genetic background had significant amounts of carotenoids in the milled grains. These lines can supply 30–50% of the estimated average requirements of vitamin A.

Partha S. Biswas, B.P. Mallikarjuna Swamy, Md. Abdul Kader, Md. Alamgir Hossain, Raul Boncodin, Mercy Samia, Md. Lutful Hassan, M. Wazuddin, Donald MacKenzie and Russell Reinke. Development and Field Evaluation of Near-Isogenic Lines of GR2-EBRRI dhan 29 Golden Rice.

Front. Plant. Sci, 25 Feb 2021  

Vitamin A deficiency remains a common public health problem among the rice-dependent poor people in the developing countries of Asia. Conventional milled rice does not contain provitamin A (β-carotene)in its edible part (endosperm) and is also deficient in essential minerals, such as iron and zinc. Transgenic Golden Rice event GR2E, which produces β-carotene in its endosperm, was used as a parent to introgress the transgene locus conferring β-carotene biosynthesis into a widely grown rice variety, BRRI dhan29, which covers around 26.1% of the irrigated rice area (4.901 Mha) of Bangladesh in the dry season. The current study reports the introgression process and field performance of GR2E BRRI dhan29 Golden Rice. The background recovery of GR2E BRRI dhan29 lines at BC5F2 generation was more than 98% with a 6K SNP-chip set. The transgenic GR2E BRRI dhan29 yielded 6.2 t/ha to 7.7 t/ha with an average of 7.0 ± 0.38 t/ha, while the non-transgenic BRRI dhan29 yielded 7.0 t/ha under confined field conditions in Bangladesh. Moreover, no significant difference between GR2-E BRRI dhan29 Golden Rice and non-transgenic BRRI dhan29 in any measured trait was observed in the multi-location trials conducted at five locations across the country. Furthermore, the appearance of cooked and uncooked rice was similar to that of BRRI dhan29 except for the yellow color indicating the presence of carotenoids. Total carotenoid content in the selected introgression lines ranged from 8.5 to 12.5 μg/g with an average of 10.6 ± 1.16 μg/g. This amount is sufficient to deliver approximately 66 and 80% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A for children and women, respectively, assuming complete substitution of white rice in the diet with Golden Rice. However, the lead selected line(s) need further evaluation at open field conditions before deciding for commercial cultivation. A large-scale feeding trial among the malnourished community with this newly developed GR2-E BRRI dhan29 Golden Rice is also required to validate its efficacy in alleviating vitamin A deficiency. 

Swamy BPM, Marathi B, Ribeiro-Barros AIF and Ricachenevsky FK (2021) Editorial: Development of Healthy and Nutritious Cereals: Recent Insights on Molecular Advances in Breeding.

Front. Genet. 12: 635006

Our Research Topic combines different approaches on biofortification and provides a comprehensive collection of the efforts to improve grain nutrient quality and to increase human nutrition.