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Chinese scientists have genetically engineered purple rice, which is rich in antioxidants

Chinese scientists have genetically engineered purple rice, which is rich in antioxidants(Credit: Qinlong Zhu/South China Agricultural University)

Chinese scientists genetically engineered purple rice that is rich in antioxidants and may reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

The added health benefits of the new rice are due to the increased levels of anthocyanins. Not only do these compounds boost antioxidant activity, which is linked to reduced risks of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, they also give foods like blueberries and red grapes their eye-catching coloration. As a result, the new rice breed has a rich purple pigment.

The next phase for the team involves studying how safe the new purple rice is to eat, and whether the technique can be applied to other cereals. Eventually, the researchers say the technique could be used to increase the levels of other nutrients and chemicals in plants.

 

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