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The Banana Way

Researchers in Australia are tweaking the genome of the banana in order to get it to deliver higher levels of vitamin A, the Guardian reports. The banana genome was reported in 2012 by an international team of researchers.

With a $10 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, researchers from the Queensland University of Technology aim to limit the number of children in Uganda and nearby areas who suffer from vitamin A deficiencies, which can lead to blindness and death.

"The highland or East African cooking banana, which is chopped and steamed, is a staple food of many East African nations, but it has low levels of micronutrients, particularly pro-vitamin A and iron," says lead QUT researcher James Dale. "We're aiming to increase the level of pro-vitamin A to a minimum level of 20 micrograms per gram dry weight."

The researchers are beginning to test the bananas on people, the Guardian notes.