Chinese researchers have created genetically modified rice which is purple in colour. The rice has been created using a new technique -- transgene stacking vector system -- which enhanced the nutritional quality of the rice making the rice more health boosting.
This is the first time researchers have tried to trigger the production of anthocyanin in rice with the help of genetic engineering, previously scientists have developed rice rich in folate and beta-carotene. Though this pigment is present in black and red rice grains it is found to be absent from the grains of polished rice from which the germ, husk and bran are removed.
"We have developed a highly efficient, easy-to-use transgene stacking system called TransGene Stacking II that enables the assembly of a large number of genes in single vectors for plant transformation," the lead author Yao-Guang Liu, a researcher at the South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou, China stated.
Scientists have planned to find out how safe the purple endosperm rice is, which they have defined as a biofortified food. They will also try to create more purple endosperm cereals grains and cereals like maize, wheat, and barley which are rich in anthocyanins. The researchers now plan to use the new technique to boost the production of other nutrients in grains.
Here are top 5 health benefits of purple rice:
Rich in antioxidants:
The researchers used genetic engineering to increase the production of anthocyanins – pigments which help in raising the production of antioxidants in the endosperm of the rice. Endosperm is the seed tissue which is present in most flowering plants after fertilisation, it surrounds the embryo and provides it nutrients.
Lowers the risk of cancer:
According to the research, this rice has the qualities to lower the risk of cancer by shielding the body from cancer-causing cell damage.
Regulates blood sugar:
This GM rice is very beneficial for type-2 diabetics as it doesn't raise the blood sugar levels like the white rice does. Consuming whole grains with dietary fibre, like the purple rice aids in depleting the risk of getting type-2 diabetes by almost 400 percent.
Enhances heart health:
Including more of this genetically modified rice in your diet would help in improving your cardiovascular health by increasing the levels of good cholesterol -- high-density lipoprotein (HDL). The rice was found to keep heart failure at bay by preventing the arteries from hardening. The rice also helps in combating other chronic diseases.
As the purple rice is rich in fibre, it improves digestion by preventing digestion-related problems and constipation.