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Hangover-free wine is in development, and we couldn't be more delighted

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It's a sad fact of life that drinking too much wine leaves us feeling bleary:

The problem is that no matter how often we end up in a hellish fug of a hangover, the wine continues to call to us. We never seem to learn.

Perhaps it's time to come at the dilemma from another angle? Happily, scientists at the University of Illinois have done exactly that.

By creating a new type of yeast that can be altered, they've helpfully chanced across the prospect of hangover-free wine. 

Researchers from the university developed an enzyme that works as a "genome knife" to very precisely cut the genes found in yeast of fermented foods such as bread and wine.

Using this method, they were able to engineer strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a species of common yeast instrumental in wine-making, bread baking, and beer brewing.

They can now use this new type of yeast to alter the taste and nutritional content of wine - and crucially, to reduce the level of toxic byproducts that lead to hangovers. 

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In a paper published this week, the team say the yeast can be altered to dramatically increase the level of resveratrol found in wine.

This health-promoting component works to prevent damage to blood vessels and reduce cholesterol. It's even been linked with an increased life span

"Wine, for instance, contains the healthful component resveratrol," says Yong-Su Jin, an associate professor of microbial genomics at the university. "With engineered yeast, we could increase the amount of resveratrol in a variety of wine by 10 times or more."

The development has also paved the way for producing wine with even greater flavour.  

"Say we have a yeast that produces a wine with great flavor and we want to know why," says Jin. "We delete one gene, then another, until the distinctive flavor is gone, and we know we've isolated the gene responsible for that characteristic."

There's no news yet on how or when the research will impact the wine market, but we imagine merchants and suppliers will be keeping a keen eye on developments. 

The new yeast means that - theoretically - not only will we have less of a hangover on our favourite bottle of Pinot Noir, it will also taste better and be healthier for us.

We'll cheers to that. 

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