mm236: If Bt corn is controversial, genetically modified wine is sure to be cataclysmic

MUDGE’S Musings

“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.” — Benjamin Franklin

Europe’s concerns with genetically modified corn hit the news, and this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©, earlier this week.

The best magazine on the planet, The Economist weighs in with a GM story that, in the same way a short piece in the same year-end issue highlighted a troubled future for beer, explores science’s impingement on that nectar of the gods, wine.

A research team in Italy has just published the complete genetic sequence for the pinot noir grape.

So what, one might ask…

Dr Velasco’s efforts have discovered a treasure trove of information for technologically oriented winemakers. His group has found hundreds of genes that encode enzymes which produce flavourings and aromatic compounds. That will help both those who want to make flavours more consistent and those who want to add novelty.

Further, those seeking genetic solutions for bacterial and viral infections that have limited the ability to grow wine grapes in certain locations, now have the genetic ammunition required to design precise solutions.

economist[3]

Grape genetics | Vine times

Dec 19th 2007 | From The Economist print edition

The pinot noir genome is sequenced. GM wine, anyone?

THE battle between those who think character comes from nature and those who think nurture is the key is not confined to students of humanity. It lies at the heart of winemaking, too. For European growers, the variety of grape is important, of course. No one would mistake cabernet sauvignon for sangiovese or riesling for chardonnay. But grape varieties are normally propagated as cuttings; in other words, clones. What creates a wine’s character, they argue, is the terroir—that mysterious combination of soil and microclimate that gives appellations contrôlées their cachet. In other words, the essence of a wine lies in its nurture.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Grape genetics | Vine times | Economist.com

In an opinion piece in the same issue, the editors of Economist are quite amusing while exploring the implications of highly precise genetic manipulation on wine.

Genetically modified wine

Unleash the war on terroir

Dec 19th 2007 | From The Economist print edition

An oenological wish-list for the drinking season

… Why should sauvignon blanc be stuck with boring old gooseberry and cabernet sauvignon with cassis? Genomics could beget some novel wine flavours and combinations to ensure the wine really does go with the food: pinot noir with cranberries, pork, and sage and onion stuffing, perhaps….

A gene for producing acetylsalicylic acid, better known as aspirin, would help to prevent heart attacks and blood clots. You could get your doctor to supply your daily half-bottle by prescription. The aspirin’s analgesic effect would head off hangovers before they even started. Caffeine could be added to keep drinkers awake during boring dinner parties. And it may even be possible to insert a gene to produce sildenafil citrate, the active ingredient in Viagra. For many men that would help to prevent the ultimate wine-induced humiliation.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Genetically modified wine | Unleash the war on terroir | Economist.com

War on terroir.” WIWICWLT! These guys at the Big E” have a sense of humor that we always appreciate.

Wine as nutraceutical. What a concept! This season of the year, a sparkling beverage fortified with an analgesic to counteract Champagne’s notorious hangovers would fly off the shelves of one’s local beverage emporium.

And now, within reach. Don’t you just love science?

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

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