In a new study published in the journal "Applied and Environmental Microbiology," researchers from the University of Illinois outlined their technique for changing the genetics of yeast. The achievement doesn't sound all that exciting until the paper mentions that scientists could use it to make wine that doesn't give you a hangover.
Science... and booze? Color me intrigued!
"Fermented foods--such as beer, wine, and bread--are made with polyploid strains of yeast, which means they contain multiple copies of genes in the genome," explained lead researcher Yong-Su Jin of the Energy Biosciences Institute in an interview with Phys.org. "Until now, it's been very difficult to do genetic engineering in polyploid strains because if you altered a gene in one copy of the genome, an unaltered copy would correct the one that had been changed."
With a tool that acts as a sort of "genome knife," the researchers are now capable of reducing the elements in wine that causes a hangover (according to Jin, "improper malolactic fermentation"), or to up the amount of resveratrol, a healthy component already present in the drink.
Eater's Adam H. Callaghan reports:
If this process sounds a bit Monsanto-esque, Jin believes it should actually quell some concerns about GMOs, specifically the worry about microbes developing a tolerance for antibiotics. "Scientists have had to use antibiotic markers to indicate the spot of genetic alteration in an organism, and many persons objected to their use in foods because of the danger of developing antibiotic resistance. With the genome knife, we can cut the genome very precisely and efficiently so we don't have to use antibiotic markers to confirm a genetic event."
Sounds good to us.