What Are Genetic Engineering?

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According to the World Health Organization, micronutrient deficiency, especially vitamin A deficiency is the “leading cause of preventable blindness in children and increases the risk of disease and death from severe infections. In pregnant women, VAD causes night blindness and may increase the risk of maternal mortality” (http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/vad/en/). Therefore, solutions need to be derived to combat these potential problems in the future. Some of these strategies include endowment of nutrient supplements, enrichment of processed foods to contain more nutrient content, and enhancement of staple crops with increases essential nutrient contents, known as biofortification (Zhu et al., 2007). Genetic engineering (GE) has proven to be the consistent approach for biofortification due to the limitless diversity available within the specific gene pools of the staple foods and can, therefore, be implemented directly to cultivars without the complex breeding programs (Farre et al., 2011). This allows for the GE of the staple crops that can produce higher nutrient levels than those in conventional breeding. However, most of these engineered varieties are still at the laboratory testing phase or in early field trials (Arjó et al., 2012). One of the most known variety is the Golden Rice, which was engineered with two genes with the ability to synthesize β-carotene (pro-vitamin A) in the seeds (Ye et al., 2000). In plants, the biosynthesis of pro-vitamin A is turned on
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