Scientists Create Beer That Could Extend Life
Beer drinkers might actually have something to celebrate about. Scientists at Rice University have created a beer that could extend your life.
They have named the beverage BioBeer, and the way it works is that it has three genes spliced into a specific brewer’s yeast that produces resveratrol, which is a chemical in red wine thought to protect against diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's and other age-related conditions.
"We started out with a strict policy that we aren't supposed to drink anything in the lab," said Peter Nguyen, the team's graduate adviser. "We do have a strain, and verified that it has the genes, and are in the process of brewing the beer."
BioBeer was created by eight graduate and undergraduate students to be entered in the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition.
This team of scientists hopes to continue their project way beyond the competition and expect to have results by next year, by continuing to test and refine their strain of yeast.
But don’t expect to toast to this special beer just yet. The team still needs to remove certain genetic markers in the yeast cells, which will also need FDA approval. By filtering the beer they would be removing the medical benefits as well.
As far as the drug resveratrol goes, which is currently seeking FDA approval to treat diabetes, the team claims that a glass of BioBeer would have less of the drug than an average glass of wine.
"The levels in the beer might not be high enough to have a beneficial effect," said the Rice team's faculty adviser Jonathan Silberg.
But the true goal of the team’s project wasn’t to prove that a person’s life could be extended, they just wanted to show that it was possible.