Micronutrients are essential for a healthy life. Humans do not produce micronutrients, and hence they must obtain them through the foodchain. Staple crops are the predominant food source of mankind, but need to be complemented by other foodstuffs because they are generally deficient in one or the other micronutrient. Breeding for micronutrient-dense crops is not always a viable option because of the absence of genetic variability for the desired trait. Moreover, sterility issues and the complex genetic makeup of some crop plants make them unamenable to conventional breeding. In these cases, genetic modification remains the only viable option. The tools to produce a number of micronutrients in staple crops have recently become available thanks to the identification of the genes involved in the corresponding biochemical pathways at an unprecedented rate. Discarding genetic modification as a viable option is definitely not in the interest of human wellbeing.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.