Lessons from the 'Humanitarian Golden Rice' project: regulation prevents development of public good genetically engineered crop products

N Biotechnol. 2010 Nov 30;27(5):466-72. doi: 10.1016/j.nbt.2010.07.012. Epub 2010 Jul 27.


Compared to a non-Genetically Engineered (GE) variety, the deployment of Golden Rice has suffered from a delay of at least ten years. The cause of this delay is exclusively GE-regulation. Considering the potential impact of Golden Rice on the reduction in vitamin A-malnutrition, this delay is responsible for an unjustifiable loss of millions of lives, mostly children and women. GE-regulation is also responsible for the fact that no public institution can deliver a public good GE-product and that thus we have a de facto monopoly in favour of a few potent industries. Considering the forgone benefits from prevented public good GE-products, GE-regulation is responsible for hundreds of millions of lives, all of them, of course, in developing countries. As there is no scientific justification for present GE-regulation, and as it has, so far, not prevented any harm, our society has the urgent responsibility to reconsider present regulation, which is based on an extreme interpretation of the precautionary principle, and change it to science-based regulation on the basis of traits instead of technology. GE-technology has an unprecedented safety record and is far more precise and predictable than any other 'traditional' and unregulated breeding technology. Not to change GE-regulation to a scientific basis is considered by the author 'a crime against humanity'.

MeSH terms

  • Altruism*
  • Child
  • Crops, Agricultural* / economics
  • Crops, Agricultural* / genetics
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Genetic Engineering / economics
  • Genetic Engineering / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Malnutrition / prevention & control
  • Oryza / genetics*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified*
  • Public Opinion