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Golden Rice Soon?

Officials in Bangladesh are poised to approve the sale of "golden rice," which book author Ed Regis argues in an opinion piece in the Washington Post could save children from blindness and death.

Golden rice was developed to contain higher levels of beta carotene to help prevent vitamin A deficiency, which causes blindness and death largely among children in the developing world, he adds, but its use ran into not only opposition from activists against genetically modified food, but also opposition from the regulatory agencies of countries it was intended to help.

In particular, Regis, who has written a book on golden rice, says the United Nations-sponsored Cartagena Protocol, which sought to protect biological diversity from unknown effects of GMOs, hamstrung the use of golden rice. He argues that it led to "restrictions on a given GMO in the absence of any actual proof that it would cause harm" and prevented children from getting needed nutrients.

He adds that if Bangladesh does approve golden rice and if it does save children's sight and lives, then regulatory agencies and others " will have a lot of explaining to do."

The Scan

Just Breathing

A new analysis suggests that most Mycobacterium tuberculosis is spread by aerosols from breathing, rather than by coughing, the New York Times reports.

Just Like This One

NPR reports that the World Health Organization has hired a South African biotech company to recreate mRNA vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 that is similar to the one developed by Moderna.

Slow Start

The Wall Street Journal reports that Biogen's Alzheimer's disease treatment had revenues for July through September that totaled $300,000.

Genome Research Papers on Cancer Chromatin, Splicing in the Thymus, Circular RNAs in Cancer

In Genome Research this week: analysis of bivalent chromatin sites, RBFOX splicing factors' role in thymic epithelial cells, and more.