A new study from China has found that rice can be genetically modified to produce one of main protein in human blood, a breakthrough that may offer a new to provide blood donations. It is claimed that the protein, Human Serum Albumin (HSA), could offer a new, plentiful and safe alternative to human blood donations, and help in the treatment of burns victims and people who have undergone bad blood loss.
The scientists, whose work was published in the journal of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, hope that the protein, which has been taken from rice plants containing human genes, could be mass-produced to make up the shortfall from the decreasing number of blood donations being made around the world.
Plasma, which mostly consists of human serum albumi, is usually is given to those patients who have suffered major blood loss, as it helps to convey hormones and minerals around the body, deals with harmful toxins from the bloodstream and works to regulate blood pressure.
Lead researcher Daichang Yang commented “Human Serum Albumin is an important protein. The demand for it is estimated at more than 500 tons per year worldwide. Currently commercial production of HSA is primarily based on collected human plasma, which is limited in supply, but of high clinical demand.
They developed a way to introduce human genes into rice using bacteria, so that rice plants became biological ‘factories’ that are able to produce proteins identical to those in humans.

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