New enzyme discovery may be link to increase vitamin a in food crops

A research team's discovery of new information about how plants synthesize carotenoids, precursors for vitamin A that are essential for plant development and survival, and human health, could help scientists increase the levels of provitamin A in food crops and reduce global vitamin A deficiency. The World Health Organization estimates 250 million children suffer from vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness and increases the risk of disease and death from severe infections. It is a public health problem in more than half of all countries, especially in Africa and Southeast Asia, having a significant impact on young children and pregnant women in low-income countries, according to the World Health Organization.

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