A banana vitamin that is genetically engineered could save thousands of children's lives and eyesight in Uganda, a place where children often go blind due to vitamin A deficiency. This exciting new research is ready for the trial stages with humans, which will take place at Iowa State University, according to Design and Trend on June 16.
It was the researchers at the Queensland University of Technology that were able to increase the levels of beta-carotene in the bananas, which converts to vitamin A. If these new modified bananas perform they way researchers expect, kids could benefit from this in not only Uganda, but in surrounding countries.
According to NewsMax, this new study is exciting and with the projections putting these modified banana's growing in farmers' fields in Africa by 2020, it is one life saving technique that offers great promise for the future.
The researchers at the Queensland University have sent sent about 22 pounds of the new modified banana orange flesh to the researchers at Iowa University. This exciting new study netted Iowa University a $10 million grant from The Bill and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Professor James Dale of Iowa State University is working with five Ugandan PhD students on this project, which is expected to take nine-years to complete. Considering that 70% of the Ugandan population survive on bananas, it is not going to be a hard sell to get them to eat the fruit. Modifying a banana to have life-saving levels of nutrients is offering light to a country's future which was surrounded by doom and darkness for the kids born there.
Dale said his projections put the vitamin A-enriched banana variety in the Uganda farmers fields by 2020. The vitamin-enriched bananas have already gone through one U.S. trial, using gerbils and those trials were successful.
The World Health Organization reports that Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness. This is a "notably severe problem in African Nations," which is where some of the poorest people in the world live.
In Africa, many kids between the ages of newborn up to six-years-old don't survive. This new modified banana can really change the mortality rate down the line. Professor Dale said, "We know out science will work." So there you have it, a promising new life saver on the way!