Rivka Fidel

An International Ethics Controversy Is Brewing Over a University GE Banana Study Funded by the Gates Foundation

A recent controversy about an upcoming genetically engineered (GE) banana study at Iowa State University (ISU) highlights public universities’ reluctance to engage with students in critical dialogue. Several graduate students, over the course of the last year, have raised critical questions about the claims made by ISU administrators and others that the GE banana study will save lives. The research will test the bioavailability of beta carotene in bananas genetically engineered to contain more of the Vitamin A precursor. The study recruited 12 female ISU students (ages 18-40) to eat GE bananas in return for $900. This study is one of the first human feeding trials of GE products and the first feeding trial of the GE banana.

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