How can CRISPR technology prevent hangover?

CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) technology has recently occupied the Olympus of life-changing discoveries.

In a couple of years this revolutionary technique that enables changing genomes in a fast and easier way has found an honored place in many areas of science, healthcare and industry. CRISPR deserves the name of a game changer and continues to be explored by scientists in different applications far beyond the walls of research laboratories.

Despite continuous discussions about ethical limits of genome modifications, customizing of genomes in a wisely regulated way might have a lot of positive effects. Editas Medicine who was one of the pioneers of industrial applications of CRISPR technique, in a couple of years has reached enormous results in a field of medicine.

Leaving out the discussions about ethical issues related to human germ line editing, we focus today on the use of CRISPR in food industry.

Recently, scientists of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have explored CRIPR/Cas9 system to modify wine yeast genome what has reduced the toxicity of byproducts of wine fermentation. Exactly! CRISPR can help to prevent our morning-after headache and hangover.

CRISPR enabled researchers to alter successfully the genome of polyploid yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae used in wine fermentation. What was not so simple to do previously using other genome modification techniques due to efficient naturally occurring genome corrections in polyploid strains.

To increase health benefits of wine, scientists are thinking about engineered yeast strains that might boost the concentration of resveratrol in wine significantly. Resveratrol was shown to have positive effects in those who have heart disease or in patients with high blood pressure.

Genetically modified strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae might help to get wine smoother or to add a great flavor. The CRISPR technology allows to do all those genetic modifications without the use of antibiotic markers, what makes it even much more attractive for use in food-related applications.

The publication in FEMS Yeast Research has recently called CRISPR/Cas9 a molecular Swiss army knife for simultaneous introduction of multiple genetic modifications in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The scientists from Department of Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands presented an open-source tool for identification of suitable Cas9 target sites in S. cerevisiae strains.

CRISPR, same like many other breaking through technologies in science has two sides. The aim of scientists and community is to distinguish the line between positive and negative impact and to focus on the positive one to get the best out of it.

If you do work with CRISPR or not, following molecular biology product offers @flash4science will supplement your gene engineering techniques:


The research “Construction of a Quadruple Auxotrophic Mutant of an Industrial Polyploid Saccharomyces cerevisiae Strain by Using RNA-Guided Cas9 Nuclease” was recently published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

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Image  by Jim Kuhn  / CC BY 2.0

Tags: Science

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