Some truly exciting news on the genetic engineering front.
A team of researchers at Rice University in Houston is working to create a beer that could fight cancer and heart disease. Taylor Stevenson, a member of the six-student research team and a junior at Rice, said the team is using genetic engineering to create a beer that includes resveratrol, the disease-fighting chemical that's been found in red wine.
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin in June had called resveratrol, which is a natural component of grapes, pomegranates and red wine, a key reason for the so-called French Paradox -- the observation that French people have lower rates of heart disease despite a cuisine known for its cream sauces and decadent cheeses, all loaded with heart-clogging saturated fats.
The Wisconsin researchers had noted that adding small doses of resveratrol to the diet of middle-aged mice significantly slows their aging and keeps their hearts healthy. And they added that giving high doses to invertebrates extends their life spans, and high doses also stave off premature death in mice fed a high-fat diet.
Stevenson said that the Rice research group, most of the members of which aren't old enough to legally drink alcoholic beverages, came up with the idea of adding resveratrol to beer during a casual conversation about potential projects to undertake. "The idea is that it may have greater effects [in beer than in wine]," he added. "The amount of red wine you'd need to drink to get the same results they get with rats in labs is about half a bottle a day."
He explained that the amount of resveratrol in wine varies from bottle to bottle, since it depends on growing conditions for the grapes and other variables. The researchers felt they could design a beer with higher and more consistent concentrations of the cancer-fighting chemical. [More]
But before we start imagining prescription suds, we need to remember something.
How much do you think the tech fee will be?