Date of Defense
Date of Graduation
Family and Consumer Sciences
Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) affects people all over the world. The most severely affected individuals are those in countries where access to Vitamin A rich foods such as dark leafy greens and dark red or orange vegetables, along with liver, eggs, and cheeses are not readily available. Vitamin A deficiency most harmfully affects young children, where it is needed for correct development, and pregnant women, where Vitamin A stores are depleted. Several methods have been put into action over the years in severely affected countries to help combat VAD. There are programs to increase the availability of Vitamin A in foods by supplementing or enriching them. Programs to distribute Vitamin A supplements have been also been implemented. Both of these programs work to an extent, but are not completely effective. For bio-fortified foods, the price may be too high to allow access by the very poor, who need it most. In the case of Vitamin A supplements, the return rate of patients to obtain the required supplements is often inadequate, and the cost of providing the supplements is high (1).
A new genetically engineered crop is being developed to help fight VAD in Southeast Asian countries, where the problem is extremely prevalent. Golden Rice, a genetically modified (GM) crop, yields a rice crop that has high levels of beta-carotene, giving it an orange or 'golden' color. The beta-carotene is then converted by the human body into Vitamin A. Since rice is a staple in most Southeast Asian countries this means of reducing VAD would reach most of the population. Also by giving the people seed to sow the crop year after year, they will be able to provide for their own needs on a continuing basis (2).
Quemada, Elizabeth A., "Golden Rice: The Need, the Science, and Public Reception of GMOs" (2012). Honors Theses. 2197.
Honors Thesis-Open Access