The scientists behind the research claim it will provide a plentiful and safe alternative to products from human blood donations, which are in short supply due to falling numbers of donors, and get around the need to screen for diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.
By growing the genetically modified rice in fields, the researchers claim Human Serum Albumin could be mass produced for use in hospitals, reducing the need to purify it from blood donations, The Telegraph reported.
Human Serum Albumin is the most abundant protein in human blood and performs important functions including carrying hormones and minerals around the body, mopping up harmful toxins from the blood stream and helping to regulate blood pressure.
'Human Serum Albumin is an important protein. The demand for it is estimated at more than 500 tonnes per year worldwide, Dr Daichang Yang, the scientist who led the research at Wuhan University in central China, said.
'Currently commercial production of HSA 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 with plasma derived HSA with its potential risk for transmission of blood-derived infectious pathogens such as hepatitis and HIV.
'The use of a rice seed bioreactor could provide an economical and safe approach for the production of non-animal derived compounds.'
Yang and his colleagues have developed a technique for inserting human genes into Asian rice using bacteria, turning the plants into biological 'factories' that can produce proteins that are identical to those found in humans.
Their latest research, published in the scientific journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that they had successfully inserted DNA for Human Serum Albumin and the resulting protein was chemically and physically identical to that found in blood.
Over successive generations they were able to increase the amount of Human Serum Albumin produced in the rice grains until it accounted for 10 per cent of the soluble protein produced in the rice seeds.
Yang said that the protein produced by the genetically modified rice was identical to Human Serum Albumin found naturally in blood. Tests on rats also showed it did not produce any adverse reactions.