New Scientist is considerably cheerier about another transgenic thing coming out of the sub-continent – a new generation of high-protein potatoes:
Subra Chakraborty and colleagues at India’s Central Potato Research Institute in Shimla created the high-protein “protato” in 2003 by giving potatoes a gene from the grain amaranth, a South American plant widely eaten across the tropics, including India. The gene codes for a “storage” protein in amaranth seeds, but in the protato it was linked to a DNA code that turns on production of the storage protein in tubers.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization reports that 925 million people will suffer chronic hunger this year. “Despite promises that GM crops could make a significant contribution to achieving global food security,” Chakraborty and colleagues write, such crops have so far mostly been used for industry or fodder, not for boosting human nutrition. The researchers hope their potatoes will change that.