Biotech Updates

GM Rice Delivers Antibodies Against Deadly Rotavirus

August 14, 2013

According to a study published recently in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, a strain of rice genetically engineered to protect against diarrhoeal disease could offer a cost-effective way to protect children in developing countries. Researchers engineered the rice, called MucoRice-ARP1, by adding an antibody to fight rotavirus originally found in llamas in the rice genome.

Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhea in young children and infants, killing more than 520,000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization. More than 85 per cent of those deaths occur in impoverished countries in Africa and Asia.

MucoRice-ARP1 was fed to mice subsequently infected with rotavirus, and the team found that these mice had significantly less virus than mice fed normal rice. The rice could be used to complement vaccinations given to children, but it is yet to be tested on humans, and could take a decade before a final product is ready for distribution, according to Yoshikazu Yuki, one of the study's authors from the University of Tokyo in Japan.

The research team found that MucoRice-ARP1 is most effective when consumed as a powder diluted with water, although the antibodies could also be ingested either in cooked rice or by drinking the water in which MucoRice-ARP1 is boiled.

The full paper in Journal of Clinical Investigation is available at: (DOI:10.1172/JCI70266).

More details about the research are available at: and