New search
download case
  • Overview
  • Teaching Notes
  • Answer Key
  • Comments/Replies

Golden Rice

An Intimate Debate Case


Annie Prud’homme-Genereux
Life Sciences
Quest University Canada


In this intimate debate case, students consider whether to support the development and use of Golden Rice as a means to alleviate vitamin A deficiency in the developing world. Since many of the arguments typically raised against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) do not apply to this particular GM crop, students are forced to analyze the facts rather than rely on what they have heard in the media. Teams of students are presented with evidence that supports either the pro or con position. Based on this information, they formulate arguments to defend their position, then present their case to another team. Each team also listens to arguments from a team defending the other position. Listening skills are developed in addition to scientific argumentation skills, since in the next phase of the debate students must defend the opposite position. This is followed by a whole-class discussion that explores broader issues and questions introduced by the case.  Developed for an introductory molecular biology undergraduate course, the case could also be used at more advanced levels.

  • Describe concepts associated with GMOs such as monoculture, cross-fertilization of crops, allergenicity, and patents.
  • Examine the arguments supporting and opposing the use of a GMO.
  • Evaluate the merits of using Golden Rice to alleviate vitamin A deficiency in developing regions.
  • Consider the socio-political causes and implications of malnutrition in developing countries and propose the best strategies to remedy it in the long-term.
Keywords: Golden rice; genetic engineering; genetically modified organism; GMO; vitamin A deficiency; gene patent and licensing; Potrykus; developing world; bioethics
Topical Area: Scientific argumentation, Social justice issues, Social issues
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Intimate Debate, Student Presentations
Language: English
Subject Headings: Molecular Biology   Biotechnology   Nutrition   Agriculture   Food Science / Technology   Botany / Plant Science  
Date Posted: 05/08/09
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

Teaching Notes

Case teaching notes are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering here.

Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

  Download Teaching Notes

Answer Key

Answer keys for the cases in our collection are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering here.

  Get Answer Key

City State:
security code
Enter Security Code: