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Old 07-11-2013, 02:57 PM   #1
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Default Scientists to create fully synthetic yeast variety from scratch

The telegraph paper here has posted an article which basically, as far as I can tell is using beer to make a science topic accessible.

Science is planning to synthesise an entirely manufactured strain for a whole bunch of firsts. Obviously us as brewers wouldn't be interested, we like the various characteristics of our yeasts and the divergent evolutionary pathways which they've taken to give us a range of options when brewing beer in different styles, so I can't see much of a point in this. I suspect it is mostly going to be used to manufacture cheap alcohol for either industrial or general fuel usage.

Interesting huh? Sorry if this is already a repost!

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Old 07-11-2013, 03:25 PM   #2
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Since it'll be designer yeast, I wonder if they'll create new styles.

Imagine a super alcohol Barleywine........

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Old 07-11-2013, 11:40 PM   #3
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I think this is more of an ethanol project than a beer project. They are looking for ways to ferment switch grass instead of corn and the more ethanol the yeast produce, the less refining & distilling that is required.
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:02 AM   #4
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I heard Craig Venter speak at a conference last month. He was the first person to have his genome mapped and was integral to the Human Genome project. His team created the first completely synthetic microorganism... this is an extension of that. Synthetic biology is an up and coming science, but it has a LONG way to go before it's ready for commercialization.

There are potential applications in targeted gene editing for the brewing industry (including home brewers), particularly in being able to up and down regulate various enzymatic pathways - emphasizing desired traits, and de-emphasizing undesirables.

(I'm a project developer/research scientist/physician at a company that does this particular type of genome editing in microbes. My lead microbiologist is good friends with Chris White...)
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:15 PM   #5
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This will be awesome. I would assume that the big breweries would desire to cut out the negative traits of their styles in order to provide cleaner products. these yeasts of course, would trickle down to us at some point. I'm really looking forward to see the end result.
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:36 PM   #6
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Make no mistake, a synthetic Yeast strain would be designed for a specific goal: i.e. make cheap alcohol out of various polysaccharides such as starches, gllycogen, chitin, cellulose etc. It's a good project for sure.

Our favorite pets, i.e. saccharomyces cerevisiae, OTOH, are not singleminded beasts. They make ethanol and CO2 as first order products, but it's the GIGANTIC slew of secondary byproducts that make the several beer styles so special and unique.

Do not sell our little friends short. They'll be here serving us for a while.

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