Saturday, September 17, 2016

Of yeast and men.

Photo credit.

Same general topic, first from a general interest perspective.

The story of yeast: Domesticated tipple (The Economist)

In a piece of genetic archaeology, researchers discover the origins of a good pint

CATTLE ranchers know that if they want to increase their yields it is best to breed their largest cows with their biggest bulls. The same idea works when trying to improve other livestock, crops and pets. Although less well known, microorganisms can also be bred selectively. Given that yeasts have a long history of being used to ferment food and drink, archaeologists have argued for years that early craftsmen may have selectively bred yeast strains without even realising it.

Now there is evidence to support this idea.

Then, a more detailed approach.

Ale Genomics: How Humans Tamed Beer Yeast, by Ewen Callaway (Nature)

Sequences of nearly 200 beer-making strains reveal yeast in action

Geneticists have traced the history of beer’s most important ingredient: yeast. By sequencing the genomes of nearly 200 modern strains of brewer’s yeast, the research reveals how, over hundreds of years, humans transformed the wild fungus Saccharomyces cerevisiae into a variety of strains tuned for particular tipples.


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