Human gene in rice

From the UK newspaper, The Independent:

In the first modification of its kind, Japanese researchers have inserted a gene from the human liver into rice to enable it to digest pesticides and industrial chemicals. The gene makes an enzyme, code-named CPY2B6, which is particularly good at breaking down harmful chemicals in the body.

And the debate:

[Professor Richard Meilan, a geneticist at Purdue University in Indiana]: “I do not have any ethical issue with using human genes to engineer plants”, dismissing talk of “Frankenstein foods” as “rubbish”. He believes that that European opposition to GM crops and food is fuelled by agricultural protectionism.

Environmentalists say that no one will want to eat the partially human-derived food because it will smack of cannibalism.

2 Responses to “Human gene in rice”

  1. Liam says:

    That’s an interesting statement to originate from ‘environmentalists’. I was unaware there was any sort of consensus within the environmental movement about genetically modified organisms.

    In the article it’s also interesting how much the statement from GeneWatch UK group reminds me of statements from the movement in the US to get stem cell research using embryos banned.