Scientists have genetically engineered a strain of corn that dramatically boosts the naturally occurring amounts of three critical vitamins, the Los Angeles Times reports. The enhanced strain of African white corn produces six times the vitamin C, double the amount of folate, and 169 times the beta carotene, a vitamin A precursor. It is the first time that scientists have upped the production of more than one vitamin in a single plant.
The researchers hope to eventually sow the corn in developing countries where deficiencies of the three vitamins cause many diseases. But adapting the vitamin corn to grow in specific regions requires other feats of genetic engineering—and some African countries have banned modified crops.