Transgenic Super Bananas for human trial

Transgenic Super Bananas for human trial

20th June, 2014. To spice-up GNOBB readers with the current advances going on with Genetically Modified crops, GNOBB would like to focus on the recent announcement of GM bananas human trial. Prof. James Dale from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia, the lead scientist of the research team gave a stat that every year due to pro vitamin A deficiency about 650,000 to 700,000 children die all over the world, especially from Africa Region. He thinks this new banana variety, the output of their research, will be able to reduce the deficiency to some extent.

The highland cooking banana is a kind of staple food for East African people and the scientists choose this food because it is already a key part of the East African people diet and improved nutritional condition of this banana should have an improved effect on  human health. These super bananas are yellow in color from the outside like other bananas, but the flesh is orange. The researchers are expecting the vitamin level to be up to 20 microgram per gram dry weight. Professor Dale and his colleagues started this work back in 2005 with a funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The field trials were completed in North Queensland, Australia. These bananas are enriched with alpha and beta carotene and the human trial will reveal if it can increase the vitamin A level in human or not.They have already been tested on Mongolian gerbils (a mouselike rodent) and the human test will be for six weeks in the US. The bananas are also being grown in Uganda for a field trial as well as in  search of an elite line for growing in Uganda and neighboring countries. The researchers hope, if the GM bananas are approved by the Uganda Government, by 2020 these bananas will be cultivated there. [summarized by the dynamic GNOBB member of the now on deputation at Lincoln University, Nebraska.

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