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Local doctors, plant scientists create program to fight hunger

By Catherine Wolf, KWMU

St. Louis, MO –

St. Louis doctors and plant scientists have started a new program to prevent hunger in Africa.

The Global Harvest Alliance combines an existing project to feed children with efforts to grow genetically engineered, vitamin-rich plants.

Project leader Dr. Mark Manary says the goal is to give kids a food supplement long enough to get them healthy, and to develop the plants as a future food source to prevent malnutrition.

"We will be able to say, gosh if you can add X amount to that peanut, we can virtually eliminate vitamin A deficiency in this population consuming peanuts as a staple in West Africa."

Manary said malnutrition causes about half of all child deaths.

Collaborators are the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.