The New York Times
' Nicholas Kristof devotes his Thanksgiving column
to biofortification, crops that have been bred or engineered to contain important micronutrients such as precursors to vitamin A, zinc, and iron. He focuses on a vitamin A-rich sweet potato that grows well in Africa, helping address the vitamin A deficiency among one-third of African preschoolers: "
If there’s any justice in the world, statues may eventually be erected of this noble root, the Mother Teresa of the dinner plate."
Many ASPB members are active in this area of research, trying to address malnutrition by selective efforts to develop crops that provide needed nutrients. This is one of the many ways that plant biology contributes to improving human health and addressing global challenges.
Kristof closes his column with the following:
But, so far, the science is promising. It may turn out that one of the best ways to save children’s lives, or to save women in childbirth, doesn’t involve doctors but rather high-tech seeds.
Children have been dying for lack of vitamin A, iron and zinc for thousands of generations. These new seeds may finally help end the scourge of starvation in this century, on our watch. And that’s a special reason to give thanks.
We add our thanks for the work of scientists around the world.