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Discovery of rare variations of maize gene promises to increase beta-carotene levels


A press release from GCP partner HarvestPlus, a sister Challenge Programme of the CGIAR, has revealed the noteworthy findings of an international team of scientists, whereby their discovery of rare variations of a maize gene (crtRB1) can lead to an 18-fold increase in beta-carotene content of maize in an academic research setting. HarvestPlus reports that plant breeders are starting to use these naturally occurring genetic variations to breed maize that can provide more beta-carotene to malnourished people. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A. A deficiency in the vitamin affects millions of people in the developing world, and blinds up to 500,000 children annually, HarvestPlus explains.

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