There has been a lot of debate regarding the safety and usefulness of genetically modified food. However, it seems that a new type of genetically modified rice provides more food while it is environmentally friendly.
A team of experts from the United States, Sweden and China have created this type of “green rice” which can reduce the amount of methane by 90 percent. The rice was made by inserting a barley gene into the rice plant.
The new plant has smaller roots but bigger grains of rice. The smaller size of the roots is the one that reduces the amount of carbon dioxide into the earth. The CO2 from the earth is released under the form of methane into the atmosphere. It is known that the larger the roots are, the more dangerous they are for the environment.
However, the grain is fully comestible, which is a very good thing, because more than 50 percent of the global population depends on rice as a source of food. Nevertheless, the researchers also said that traditional rice crops are among the most dangerous sources of methane, which makes them very harmful for the planet.
Methane is a gas that is 20 times more harmful for the environment than CO2. It was estimated that rice paddies issue 25 to 100 million metric tons of methane. This represents 17 percent of the whole atmospheric pollution.
According to other researchers, this is an incredible opportunity for “more sustainable rice cultivation”, as it will be able to both feed the population that is so much dependant on this plant and help cut the greenhouse emissions that are so damaging.
Nevertheless, it is still necessary for the experiment to be carried out on a larger scale before making it become available for farmers all over the world.
Moreover, the researchers will probably meet some opposition before they are able to distribute the new product. First of all, people in general are extremely skeptical when it comes to genetically modified food, so it might be years before it appears on the market. Secondly, other commercial groups which are part of the same business will frown upon the new product that threatens their own sales.
In spite of that, it is a relief that producers are starting to think about the planet and doing something about it. Replacing the existing rice paddies with ones that are eco-friendly is a huge step towards a greener planet.
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