DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa State University researchers are moving ahead with a long-delayed project in which a dozen students will be paid to eat genetically modified bananas.

The Des Moines Register reports that the bananas were developed by scientists at Queensland University of Technology in Australia and have a gene that’s supposed to help people living in Africa make vitamin A.

“In Uganda and other African countries, vitamin A deficiency is a major contributor to deaths in childhood from infectious diseases,” Wendy White, a food-science professor who is leading the university’s trial, wrote in a statement.

White sent an email to students in the summer of 2014 seeking 12 female volunteers to eat an equivalent of three bananas each, one of which would be the genetically modified type. The participants would eat a diet, including the bananas, for four days during each of three study periods, then have their blood tested. They would be paid $900 each.