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Rice is staple food in Asia. In the 1950s, Asia faced food shortage and an impending famine. If you have relatives

that lived in Asia during the '50s and '60s, they may tell you that due to the rice shortage, many starved and those who were lucky had to supplement their diet with other crops, such as barley.

In 1962, an organization focused on research and development of rice called International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) developed a high-yielding variety of rice by crossing the two types of rice from Indonesia and China. The result was ground breaking. The new variety called IR8 (India Rice 8) increased its yield as much as 10 times the traditional variety of rice.

By the early 1970s, many rice farmers in India, the Philippines, and Vietnam switched to cultivating IR8 rice, making these countries into major rice exporters, preventing a mass famine in Asia, and saving millions of lives.

Is the IR8 rice variety considered a genetically modified organism (GMO)? Why or Why not? Support your answer with research.

Although IR8 was widely cultivated in Asia in the '70s, it is no longer produced in the 21st century. Identify one problems associated with mass cultivation of IR8 and explain its environmental impact.

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