If you’ve ever spent a night (or three) sloshing down red wine, chances are you felt sloshed the next morning. Imagine pounding through an evening of Cab and waking up feeling, well, good. I know: hard to imagine, but scientists at the University of Illinois are getting close by genetically altering our favorite fermented food (wine).
A food that’s fermented has multiple copies of genes in its genome. What that means is that genetically altering wine and beer proves difficult, since every time you mess around with one genetic copy, the others step in to bring it bring it back to normal. However, Professor Yong-Su Jin at U of I explains that he and his team have developed a “genome knife” that slashes through multiple copies of a target gene until all the copies fall by the wayside.
This genome knife, an enzyme called RNA-guided Cas9 nuclease (we’ll just call it Superyeast), has some pretty incredible possibilities. Imagine increasing resveratrol, a heart healthy component found in wine. Maybe gyms can start stocking wine in a can next to the MuscleMilk, after all.
However, the most exciting opportunity by far (according to me) is the Superyeast’s ability to intensify wine’s malolactic fermentation, which is what makes wine oh-so-sippably-smooth. When malolactic fermentation doesn’t take place properly, toxins pop up and your glass of vino is far more likely to give you a hangover. But with Superyeast on our side, malolactic fermentation will step up its game and toxins will be a thing of the past, like YOLO. Well, hopefully at least one of those will be outdated soon.
To read more about wine and health, check out our Wine & Alcohol Health Roundup.
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