Cotton could feed the world’s poor
November 21, 2006
Genetically modified cottonseed could be used to feed half a billion people worldwide according to new research published in today’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Current cottonseed contains a toxic chameical known as gossypol, but scientists at Texas A&M University have developed a genetically modified plant that produces little or no gossypol. Gossypol is still present in the plant’s leaves and stem tissue to defend against insect pests. The seeds are protein-rich — 23 percent protein by volume — according to the researchers.
The scientists say the plants could play a critical role in improving the lives of millions across West Africa where poor farmers grow cotton as a cash crop. Edible seeds would allow farmers to also grow cotton as a food crop to supplment their diet.
This article includes a NASA news release.