A new, direct testing will be conducted on American college women using untested GMO bananas. The experiment is going to start this fall. The experiment’s aim is testing the new genetically modified bananas with artificial levels of beta-carotene and their impact on humans.
Beta-carotene is the substance also known as pro-vitamin A, as it encourages the creation of this essential vitamin in the human body. According to the plans of the scientists, the university students in Iowa will eat these bananas, or “the monstrous fruit”.
The experiments are going to be conducted with no previous testing on animals, so the consequences that might affect the health of the students are not known.
According to the Des Moines Register, there will be twelve selected students from a total of 500 students who wanted to volunteer in the first test.
The volunteers will eat these genetically modified bananas for four days, over three separate periods of the study. The compensation that the students are going to get for their participation in the research, which is absolutely uncertain, is 900 dollars.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the organization that actually funds this genetically modified banana project. This project was launched by the Queensland University of Technology in Australia. The intention of the project itself was cultivation and utilization of bananas in the poor African countries, where the lack of vitamin A is very common.
The companies that will produce these genetically modified bananas guarantee higher profits. This is due to the fact that all genetically modified foods, including bananas, are more resistant to bacterial diseases, worms, and weevils compared to other, natural foods.
The company also guarantees that the classic bananas are also going to continue to be produced safely, so the higher profits are only a logical consequence. The 2020 “super-bananas” should begin growing in Uganda, and in case that this project is approved, the breeding will go to Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania too.
Some people, including the world renowned scientists, oppose to this study. They warn that the genetically modified bananas have not been tested on other living beings, meaning that they should not be directly tested on people.
These people are worried as they do not know in which way this study is going to be carried out or whether the students will be familiar with what they should consume. Moreover, they warn that in case of too high amounts of synthetic vitamin A in the body, this vitamin can lead to certain health dangers and toxic effects.
This is not the first attempt
The genetically modified bananas are not the first global project with the same purpose. Other solutions have also been proposed for solving the problem with vitamin A deficiency in the world.
Before the project with the bananas, the “golden rice” project was offered. This project was about a rice type enriched in pro-vitamin A, but this rice has failed all tests so far.
The hazardous genetically modified food is actually unneeded as nature already has a solution for the lack of vitamin A in the human body.
Nature has provided us with ingredients like mango and sweet potato, which contain great amounts of beta-carotene. Other ingredients of this kind are pumpkins, carrots, apricots, persimmons apples, and spinach.
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