Rickus Biol295F Team 2

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Project Statement, 9.06.07 [1]

Potential References

  1. Review article on the social challenges to introducing genetically engineered crops such as rice to solve problems of world malnutrition Potryku 2003
  2. Review article on the potential of biotechnology to address malnutrition Bouis 2007
  3. Potential Impact of Golden Rice
  4. How Nature Synthesizes Vitamin BI2-A Survey of the Last Four Billion Years
  5. rice genome project
  6. Aminolevulinic synthesis in rice plants [2]
  7. Genetic Modification Methods for Rice [3]





I've attached a spreadsheet containing some stats on meat and rice consumption. From this info we will be able to deduce which countries have the lowest meat consumption per capita and which countries have rice as a large staple of their diet. The next step is to determine the amount of meat required to sustain proper health-this should indicate which countries suffer from vegetarian related vitamin deficiencies. [Grains and Meat By Country]

Major and Minor effects of vitamin B12 deficiency:

There are many diverse effects that are associated with vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin b12 helps regulate many processes within the body. It helps with the formation of red blood cells, maintaining the functions of the nervous system, and DNA synthesis (4). The Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin B12 is set at 2.4 μg per day. A diet not containing enough vitamin B12 can eventually result in several health problems (3). Vitamin B12 deficiency can either be induced from not eating enough animal meat, which is the only place it can be found naturally, or it could be because of malabsorption. This poses a problem to those who do not consume animal products for religious, personal, or purely economical reasons (1). If you do not eat enough vitamin B12, you could develop neurological problems or psychiatric problems. The minor problems that are associated with B12 deficiency are dementia, mood changes, muscle weakness, and hypotension, just to name a few. Vitamin B12 deficiency could also lead to Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, and anemia. Alzheimer’s patients are now being studied to see how the amount of B12 in their blood determines how fast the disease progresses. There is also a study going on to see how the level of B12 in the blood stream correlates with the absence/presence of breast cancer. Vitamin B12 deficiency is directly associated with anemia. Anemia is when the body is not able to produce red blood cells efficiently. Vitamin B12 can also cause health problems in infants because their mothers are deficient. To illustrate the seriousness of this issue, a recent 2005 study showed close to 33% of the India general population, a population of over 1 billion people, having deficient amounts of Vitamin B12 (2). In conclusion, vitamin B12 can affect people of all ages and that is why we should be concerned with the inclusion of B12 in food that is not meat so vegetarians and other people who cannot eat meat will be able to obtain the vitamin without having to take supplements.--Heather Serwacki 15:09, 20 September 2007 (EDT)

1. Allen, Robert H. and Stabler, Sally P. Vitamin B12 Deficiency as a Worldwide Problem. Annual Review of Nutrition. Volume 24, February 6, 2004. p. 299 - 326.

2. Chandra, Jagdish. Vitamin B12 and folate deficiency: megaloblastic anemia and beyond. SCN Working Group on Micronutrients Report 2006.

3. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12. Office of Dietary Supplements. National Institute of Health. April 26, 2006. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminb12.asp

4. Oh, Robert C. and Brown, David L. Vitamin B12 Deficiency. American Academy of Family Physicians. March 1, 2003. http://www.aafp.org/afp/20030301/979.html

--10.04.07-- Project Report –

-- Basics - Malnutrition
When the World Food Summit, WFS, convened in Rome 11 years ago, world undernourishment was at catastrophic levels. The FAO (Insert non-acronym here) estimated that the total amount for the world wide populace was near .857 billion, with 823 million of that being in 3rd world underdeveloped countries, 25 million being transition countries and 9 in developed countries.1
At the summit they set a goal to half the number of malnourished by 2015. Unfortunately, they have fallen far from their objective, with only 3 million people in underdeveloped counties taken care of. Compared to the 37 million helped in 1970’s and the 100 million helped in the 1980’s, the WFS has certainly fallen in their capacity to solve world hunger. The largest amounts of malnourished reside in the troubled regions of Africa, India, China and the pacific.
One of the largest problems tied to malnourishment and plaguing the 3rd world countries is vitamin b-12 deficiency. Vitamin B-12 is responsible for many important functions in the body, and also prevents conditions such as Anemia, Alzheimer’s and breast cancer.2. Vitamin B-12, which is stored in the liver of all animals, is unfortunately not produced in any Eukaryotes, only in prokaryotes such as the bacteria P. denitrificans.3.

-- Our Mission
Our group has decided to explore the potential of genetically modifying rice, the staple food source for many of the countries listed above, to contain or produce more Vitamin B-12. We have chosen to modify the plant genome and combine Vitamin B-12 producing genes from different bacteria, such as P. denitrificans, so that the plant will produce amounts that can efficiently support human B-12 consumption.
Also important is the further manipulation of the genetic sequence which would allow different strains of rice to grow in different environments and climates. For example, where some parts of Africa are very wet, some are very arid; this presents a problem since rise grows best in very wet climates. Modifying the genetic sequence with genes from an extremophile (most likely a hydrophobic one) could support the ability of the rice to live in these much more unfriendly environments.

-- Genetic Modification Basics
Genetic modification was once a very daunting idea, however many advances in the field of genetics and science have almost gotten us to the point where the gene sequence can be ‘cut’ from one organism, and ‘pasted’ into another.
After an organism is chosen, in our case a bacterium containing the Vitamin B-12 production gene, site-specific restriction enzymes are used to cut the portion of the code that is needed. After this, a process called PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, is used to amplify the amount of DNA collected so that scientist have enough of the gene to work with. Next the scientists must incorporate the gene into the already possessed genetic code of the rice. This can be done a number of ways, however the most commonly used method is known as electroportation.
Electroportation is a technique that begins with gathering target cells in a chamber where special enzymes that denature cell walls strip the wall from the target cells. After this occurs, you are left with a protoplast (a plant cell containing no cell walls, but still entrapped in a cell membrane) which can be more easily manipulated. When a high-voltage charge is then applied, small holes in the membrane will occur allowing for the injection of the new DNA. From here, the DNA (which is injected in the form of a transfer plasmid) migrates to the nucleus and incorporates itself in the host cells chromosomes and DNA. Shortly thereafter, the pores close (autonomously) and a reverse process for re-constructing the cell walls is applied.
From here is a matter of culturing the cells until they grow to an acceptable amount to be transferred to a regular environment.

-- Implementation
After the technical work has been accomplished, we wish to begin growing this new species and testing to see if it expressed the genes we intended. Initial harvests of the functional GM rice will then be shipped around the US and a few test facilities to see if the rice performs well outside of the lab and in different environments around the US. Eventually our aim is to ship these seeds all over the world, because we realize that although growing and harvesting the rice ourselves then shipping it to countries in need will be very beneficial, we understand that these people may need more rice than we can supply in the common decades. With help from the governments of the target countries or at least the other organizations attempting to solve the same problems we are, we hope that this new food will ultimately lower starvation and malnourished populaces.

Bibliography (Need to update)
1. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2006 PDF. Accessed October 2007. (need to find authors, url.)
2. BIOL 205, team two. http://openwetware.org/wiki/Rickus_Biol295F_Team_2
3. C.A. Rossner. Reaction and Genes Required for the Transformation…
4. .How Rice is Genetically Modified. <http://www.geocities.com/xhcaulfieldx/Method.html>