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The protato is a rather wonderful example of genetic modification (GM) that is almost completely pointless, but makes for good headlines. The original reports suggested that it would have a third again more protein than a normal potato, as Wessabessa says. A few years later, the Indian press was reporting that it contained 60% more protein! Wow. Now, what's 160% of sod-all? That's right - still sod-all. Normal potatoes are less than 2% protein when boiled, so protatoes would have a little over 3%. It's not a totally insignificant amount, but lentils, for example, contain several times as much, without splicing in amaranth genes. It is almost impossible to imagine a situation in which investing in modified potatoes would be a better use of resources than encouraging people to grow more lentils, if your worry is that people aren't eating enough protein.

Genetic modification may well have a role to play in reducing malnutrition, and to be fair, the protato might even be a worthwhile development, despite the gruesomely ugly name - but the whole thing bears so little relation to the genuine problems faced by hungry people that it is hard to see it as much more than a PR exercise for GM.