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Critical Reviews in Biotechnology
2015, doi:10.3109/07388551.2014.993586

Golden rice: scientific, regulatory and public information processes of a genetically modified organism

A. Alan Moghissi, Shiqian Pei, and Yinzuo Liu

Microbiology and Immunology, Georgetown School of Medicine, Washington, DC , USA.


Historically, agricultural development evolved in three phases. During the first phase the plants were selected on the basis of the availability of a plant with desirable properties at a specific location. The second phase provided the agricultural community with crossbreeding plants to achieve improvement in agricultural production. The evolution of biological knowledge has provided the ability to genetically engineer (GE) crops, one of the key processes within genetically modified organisms (GMO). This article uses golden rice, a species of transgenic Asian rice which contains a precursor of vitamin A in the edible part of the plant as an example of GE/GMO emphasizing Chinese experience in agricultural evolution. It includes a brief review of agricultural evolution to be followed by a description of golden rice development. Golden rice was created as a humanitarian project and has received positive comments by the scientific community and negative voices from certain environmental groups. In this article, we use the Best Available Science (BAS) Concept and Metrics for Evaluation of Scientific Claims (MESC) derived from it to evaluate claims and counter claims on scientific aspects of golden rice. This article concludes that opposition to golden rice is based on belief rather than any of its scientifically derived nutritional, safety or environmental properties.

Keywords: Best available science, genetically modified organisms, golden rice, opposition of golden rice, regulatory evaluation, scientific metrics, support of golden rice.

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