Scientists have found a way to genetically modify rice as a replacement for human blood. The idea is to extract a protein containing human genes that could then be used in lieu of actual blood to help burn victims and those who’ve suffered massive blood loss.

It’s seen as a viable solution to shortages of blood donations, and it circumvents the need for HIV and hepatitis screenings that must be done on human blood before it can be used.

Dr. Daichang Yang, the scientist who led the research at Wuhan University in central China, said, “Currently commercial production of [Human Serum Albumin] is primarily based on collected human plasma, which is limited in supply, but of high clinical demand. There is also an increasing public health concern [due to] potential risk for transmission of blood-derived [diseases] … The use of a rice seed bioreactor could provide an economical and safe approach for the production of non-animal derived compounds.”

The latest research from Dr. Yang and his colleagues, published in the scientific journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealed they’d successfully inserted DNA for Human Serum Albumin and the resulting protein was virtually identical to that found in actual blood.

[Telegraph]