Scientists have engineered a yeast that promises to spell the end of hangovers.
The modified Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast is intended to increase the health benefits of wine and decrease the toxic by-products which cause hangovers.
Researchers at the University of Illinois have created a “genome knife” that exactly cuts across multiple copies of a target gene in a genome.
Fermented foods such as beer, wine and bread are made with polypoid strains of yeast which have multiple copies within them.
Previously it has been difficult to do engineering in polypoid strains because altering a gene in one copy of the genome would be corrected by the unaltered version elsewhere.
The genome knife allows them to cut out these unwanted copies thereby increasing the good qualities of the wine and removing the negative ones.
Yong-Su Jin, the leader of the research, said that this could have “staggering consquences” and may allow us to understand how wines get their unique flavours.
He said: “Say we have a yeast that produces a wine with great flavour and we want to know why. We delete one gene, then another, until the distinctive flavour is gone, and we know we’ve isolated the gene responsible for that characteristic.”