'Bio-Beer' Designed to Extend Life

Eric Bland, Discovery News

To Your Health Discovery News Video

Here's a reason to raise a pint; scientists at Rice University have created beer that could extend your life.
BioBeer, as it's called, has three genes spliced into special brewer's yeast that produce resveratrol, the chemical in red wine that is thought to protect against diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's and other age-related conditions.
The only problem, from the students' perspective, is that many of them aren't old enough to legally consume their creation.
"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."
The eight graduate and undergraduate students created BioBeer as part of the upcoming International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition. The iGEM Jamboree, as the annual meeting is called, took place at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology November 8th and 9th. Last year 85 teams from around the world signed up to bring the tools of the nascent field of synthetic biology to bear on a variety of problems large and small, including a bacterial vacuum cleaner or "bacuum cleaner" that can seek out and degrade harmful hydrocarbons in ground water and devices to remove arsenic from drinking water.

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