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Rice Containing Breast Milk Proteins to Be Grown in Kansas

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has given a green signal for plantation of rise modified to express proteins often found in breast milk in Kansas.

This is the first time that any food crop containing genes that produce human proteins will be grown on a large-scale.

Developed by biotech company Ventria Bioscience in Sacramento, California, the rice strains produce lysozyme, lactoferrin, and human serum albumin in their seeds, which are commonly found in breast milk.

According to the company, lysozyme and lactoferrin are proteins with antibacterial, viral, and fungal properties.

Ventrias main aim is to use the pharmaceutical proteins rich rice to create drinks that may help combat diarrhea, and to use dietary supplements to help reverse anemia.

The crop was given preliminary approval in March after it was tested in Peru, Nature magazine reports.

Initially, concerns were raised that the rice might escape into the environment through animals and birds, or through extreme weather events.

The USDA has, however, said that the any seeds eaten by animals or birds would pose them no significant risk.

It also says that a tornado or extreme weather conditions would not disperse the seed widely, though it accepts that there is a requirement of an emergency management plan to deal with such situations.


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