Transgenic rice is a source of iron for iron-depleted rats

Laura E. Murray-Kolb, Fumio Takaiwa, Fumiyuki Goto, Toshihiro Yoshihara, Elizabeth C. Theil, John L. Beard

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73 Scopus citations


Iron deficiency is one of the most prevalent nutrient deficiencies in the world. A sustainable solution to dietary iron deficiency may be achieved in part by increasing bioavailable iron in seeds used for foods such as rice. Because ferritin is used as a natural source of iron in the early development of humans, other animals and plants, the bioavailability of iron in rice seeds, provided in amounts equal to ferrous sulfate, and in transgenic rice with ferritin was tested in iron-deficient rats. A standard hemoglobin (Hb) repletion bioassay was used with rats made anemic followed by complete diets containing equivalent amounts of iron as FeSO4 or one of three different bioengineered rice varieties (Kitaake and two transgenic derivatives with ferritin targeted to the seed, FK11 and FK22). Rice diets were as effective as the FeSO4 diet in replenishing hematocrit, Hb concentration and liver iron concentrations. These data suggest that Mendelian and biotechnological approaches to manipulating ferritin expression of seed iron in rice may contribute to a sustainable solution to global problems of iron deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)957-960
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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