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Cyborg yeast do what you tell them

Jeremy Short · Nov. 7

 

Can you imagine being able to talk to your yeast? What if you could tell the billions of cells in your carboy to do this or to do that? While this might sound like fantasy it’s actually being done at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich. By using light the reserachers were able to impact the yeast’s ability to produce a specific protein. "upon shining red light in, they could track how much a population of yeast cells was expressing the gene, and apply the deeper red to curb that gene expression” (BBC). Breweries could actually use light to influence the taste of a beer. How crazy is that?

After reading the details, I think this is a long way from coming to a homebrew store near you. And while this is pretty cool stuff, it kind of seems like cheating. Shouldn't you just gently persuade your yeast into making a good beer by talking in gentle soft tones? 
(via Gizmodo via BBC via Nature.com)

 

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