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Press Release 08-007
Feeding the World: New Method for Producing High-Vitamin Corn Could Improve Nutrition in Developing Countries

Could be produced easily and inexpensively in developing countries

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Photo of blind man led by a young boy

Deficiencies in dietary vitamin A can cause many diseases, including blindness.

Credit: Sight and Life


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Watercolor of corn with strands of DNA coming out

Because of its genetic makeup, some corn crops contain particularly high levels of vitamin A precursors. Scientists have found a simpler and cheaper method to find these high-vitamin corn crops.

Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation


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Corn used in studies of genetic factors associated with levels of vitamin A precursors in corn.

White corn has no vitamin A precursors. Yellow and orange corn show only a very poor correlation between color and vitamin A precursors. Therefore, the level of vitamin A precursors in yellow and orange corn cannot be identified merely through visual inspection. But by identifying genetic markers that are associated with high levels of vitamin A precursors, scientists developed a new method to quickly screen for corn strains that are high in vitamin A precursors.

Credit: Catherine Bermudez Kandianis, University if Illinois


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Video of food being served in Mozambeak

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Surveys suggest that preferences for white corn by some consumers would not prevent acceptance of orange, varieties of corn that have been biofortified with Vitamin A.

Credit: Todd and Torbert Rocheford

 



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