Golden Rice from Bioethical Perspective

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Golden rice variety of rice known as Oryza sativa produced through engineering to biosynthesize beta-carotene, which is precursor of vitamin A. It is known as a biofortified culture which is genetically modified and is nutritionally rich. The nutritional valued are concerned with healthier skin, immune system, and vision. The development of golden rice was collaboration result between Peter Beyer and Ingo Potrykus research obtained in 1999 (Ye et al., 2000).

Deficiency of vitamin A is major problem of developing countries because the staple diet is mostly dependent in rice to other micronutrient poor carbohydrate foods these food show slow promise towards vitamin A. World health organization estimates about 250 million preschool children’s and affected by vitamin A deficiency which leads 2.7 million deaths. One major health effect is skin dryness and eyesight problems, low immune response, and high mortality risk is one of the major problems in developing countries (Akhtar et al., 2013).

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In the current world the developing countries mostly relying on single staple crop for their energy intake. Biofortification is the aim to provide and manage health issues where the nutritional impact is seen through the composition of staple crop. The rice can be game changer in such areas where minimal change in the food production and processing and consumption can play vital role towards the health issues arising by nutritional values (Key, Ma, & Drake, 2008).

The people who support golden rice they believe it can solve the vitamin A crisis and help in the severity in health issues related to vitamin A, they can be removed or minimized by the golden rice in developing countries. While others believe the severity of vitamin A deficiency is due to unequal distribution of food over the population and there is not any role of depleting vitamin levels with the stable food rice in their daily use. The supporters believe that the golden rice project have no any concerns with profit biotech companies they believe the project has freedom to operate under human use and the technology will show its promises in developing countries.

Despite of various benefits, risks and impacts of golden rice in developing countries the innovation in biotechnology for promising the world to keep healthy individual and serving vitamin A remains constant.

Ethical Matrix

An ethical matrix is an analytical tool that helps policymakers (as individuals or groups) make logical decisions or decisions on ethical acceptability and/or appropriate regulatory controls for current or foreseen food and agriculture technologies (Mepham, Kaiser, Thorstensen, Tomkins, & Millar, 2006). The ethical matrix can be applied in several ways to assist decision- making, but all applications share some essential characteristics. The matrix is wholly based on three principles which are wellbeing where the security, health, and welfare of an individual or group are checked. Autonomy, where the people have the right to be free to choose and make their own decisions are seen and fairness where to what extent the situation is suitable for the group, is observed. The ethical problem here is the use of GM plant as food for normal people, although they are environmentally, and health friendly and dangerous concerns are not identified. The main issues that will be discussed here are highlighted, and other parts will be addressed in a broader extent. The main stakeholders in these regards are farmers, consumers, and the treated plant, and of course, the biota.


Several ethical questions arise from the golden rice development some are related to genetically modified plants are not good, it’s not promising in the cur of disease totally. Giving the reasons for the research of golden rice, environmental, health issues are also subject to issues which is an excellent place to start an assessment. Golden rice is game changer in vitamin related deficiency and supplements. So that the developments countries the deficiency can me managed in mass manner. And shows promise in permanent way. consequential framework focus on the outcomes of the golden rice, if it shows any promise or have side effects. the clear analysis will give outcome and result about the golden rice project. Many GMO activists focus on negative consequences of farming and consuming golden rise as it has allergic and potential antibiotic resistance. The possibility that genetically modified food that can mash with plating GMO crops near non-GMO crops, unknowingly from consumer. That can lead to environmental issues. These kinds of crops create negative impact and possibly its biodiversity. Issues may arise if GMO are bred with wild species (Ogwu, 2019). There are possible socioeconomic implications that genetically modified foods have in developing countries. So, own profit companies try to back genetically modified foods which leads the fear of negative effect on small scale farmers and market balance is affected and directly the farmers are suffered who cannot go against the big biotech companies. More like golden rise keeps its promise to help millions of people who lack vitamin A and prevents millions of deaths in developing countries. In addition, golden rise can be the perfect pathfinder for enhancing genetically modified, biofortified crops to combat micronutrients in developing countries. This is the main strong point for golden rice and its use. Improvement of public health in developing countries is also one benefit from golden rice.

The debate anti GMO activist, so views are left without light, strongly blunt voices are those inhabitants of developing countries the intended got proper way to fight in correct manner fight against micronutrient and malnutrition.

Ethical Issues


Well-being is provided to parties like experts that may be farmers and consuming area and future generation. Golden rice maybe a good opportunity and sow promise to health, social economic benefit, causses excellent quality rice provides ne new opportunity to increase income to farmers. When evaluating the golden rice consumption impacts safety of humans and animals as well environment is regulated by agencies and experts so level of well-being is truthful and fruitful. Golden rice has a positive effect on human health, strengthening the economic status of small farmers from large agricultural businesses. Differences of opinion still persist.


Golden rice will be a game changer in the field of medicine by transforming food into supplement by improving the qualities of rice along with nutritional value. So, the level is good for stakeholders.


The potential issues concerned with environment is the main attention now. The possibility of genetically modified crop becomes weed, and the possibility of unwanted genes being transferred to wild relatives. The displacement of related plants in wild relatives may cause loss of biodiversity which will be different form traditionally bred commercial varieties. The main threat is GM contamination that will affect traditional, conventional organic farming. Like other varieties of white rice golden rice is cultivated in monocultures which implies adverse effect on local ecosystem likely loose of ecosystem. Focusing the socio systemic branch including participation, equity, ethics and biodiversity more often pointed towards the shortcoming of golden rice.

Consumer Concern

Golden rice is approved for consumption in the Philippines and will help reduce VAD because it is high in beta-carotene. But studies show that most families are at risk of VAD, they cannot grow it themselves, and most commercial farmers cannot grow it. In many cases, an emotional reaction to golden rice was observed. The anxious reactions recycled about Green Revolution technologies and the commercialization of agriculture were not reliable for golden rice. Rice consumption is targeted at the poor, so these people act as guinea pigs, golden rice will not provide enough vitamin A, but if consumed in large quantities, it can lead to toxicity. Golden rice is an extension of the green revolution that hurts the poor.


Ethical problems in agriculture field and food industry in general concerns are providing quality, safety, healthy without causing any harmful effects to human, animal, and environment. Obviously, technology attribute to agriculture a great deal since its beginning especially under the highly global demand of food. Technology itself is amoral which means that it has neither a good or an evil side, the way of using it is what makes the difference. GR in this state is all good and even better and safe solution with a minimum known, measured, and proven harm. The way this project will applied and controlled may or may not change the previous ethical judgment. GR project as a GMF’s is an ethical solution have certain shortcomings in addressing consumer’s participation; it is known that often developing countries does not involve consumers in decision making of entering certain products or even opening a space for debate, the choice depends most of the times on scientific and ethical judgment of their governments, economics and scientific experts: ethically GR is likely to be in the good side of the equation of good and evil. There is several alternative to genetically modified foods under the bad conditions of the rural areas in India such as: Vitamin A pills, GR, other sources of vitamin A form local plants, breastfeeding. It is important to reconsider GMF’s by looking to the positive side of the industry and its future potentials to transform food into medicines or supplements.


  1. Key, S., Ma, J. K. C., & Drake, P. M. (2008). Genetically Modified Plants and Human Health. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 101(6), 290-298. doi:10.1258/jrsm.2008.070372
  2. Mepham, B., Kaiser, M. J., Thorstensen, E., Tomkins, S., & Millar, K. (2006). Ethical Matrix Manual.
  3. Ogwu, M. (2019). Lifelong Consumption of Plant-Based GM Foods: Is It Safe? (pp. 158-176).
  4. Ye, X., Al-Babili, S., Klöti, A., Zhang, J., Lucca, P., Beyer, P., & Potrykus, I. (2000). Engineering the Provitamin A (β-Carotene) Biosynthetic Pathway into (Carotenoid-Free) Rice Endosperm. Science, 287(5451), 303. doi:10.1126/science.287.5451.303.
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