Indian bioscientists solve world hunger

Well, there are still a few kinks and implementation details to be worked out, but this looks like a huge step in the right direction:

Researchers in India have developed a genetically modified potato that is packed with up to 60 per cent more protein and increased levels of amino acids.


“Because potato constitutes an important part of the diet of many people in developed as well as developing countries, it is apparent that this can add value to potato-based products with enhanced benefits for better human health,” they wrote.


They found that the transgenic potatoes contain between 35 and 60 percent more protein than unmodified potatoes. They also contain increased levels of amino acids, notably lysine, tyrosine and sulphur, which are usually limited in potatoes.

Protein is, of course, rather important to maintaining health — and particularly critical to children.  Go read those two links, repeatedly if necessary, until you realize just how fucking exciting this development could be.  And when you come back, join me in a heartfelt message to Paul Ehrlich:

Where’s your Population Bomb now, you Malthusian jackass?

Of course, these potatoes are <shocked whisper>genetically modified organisms</shocked whisper>, so no doubt the locavores, organic-foodies, and other unimaginative misanthropic Luddites will throw a hysterical shit-fit over their propagation.  I will take great pleasure in all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, but that’s just a happy side effect: the main attraction is (the possibility of) cheap fucking protein for everyone.

Congratulations to Subhra Chakraborty, Niranjan Chakraborty, and Asis Datta.  This looks like the paper:

4 Responses to “Indian bioscientists solve world hunger”

  1. 1 Chris C.
    September 20, 2010 at 16:17

    If these modified potatoes can “breed true” with normal methods of planting/growing/harvesting, this is really an astounding advance. The Luddites and ZPG folks (Motto: “let’s not allow science to make the lives of Third Worlders too easy, they might breed more.”) will, of course, oppose such action. Frankentaters, they’ll shout. They’ll express fears that (eeeevil) McDonald’s will be able to tout french fries make with Frankentaters as having more protein than a Whopper. (Well, definitely more than McNuggets, as I am not convinced that those are “natural” in any acceptable meaning of the word.) Hopefully, these potatoes (I suggest the name “Proteinaters” and having the spokestater, or even a run-of-the-mill commontater, do the commercial with an Austrian accent) will help alleviate malnutrition in the areas which are smart enough to grow them.

  2. September 21, 2010 at 14:16

    I wonder if they’ll be easy enough to grow. It might be easier just to start growing beans to go with normal potatos (which as a bonus would help prevent a repeat of the Irish Potato Famine). Also you’d want to make sure they weren’t more vulnerable to disease as well. Still sounds pretty neat if it works.

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