Wine researchers using biotechnology – Yahoo! News

Wine researchers using biotechnology – Yahoo! News

By MARCUS KABEL, Associated Press Writer

MOUNTAIN GROVE, Mo. – Every season, wine makers fight the same battles to protect their grapevines they have been fighting for thousands of years.

From ancient Mesopotamia to today’s vineyards, the eternal enemies include fungus and bugs, extreme heat and unseasonable cold.

Now, Missouri State University researchers hope to apply genetic technology to make cultivated wine grapes as hardy as their wild cousins.

At the newly created Center for Grapevine Biotechnology, researchers are working to identify and transplant individual genes that make native grapes resistant to funguses that plague the European and hybrid vines most wine is made from.

Unlike the traditional crossbreeding of plants, genetic modification holds the potential for transferring specific traits without changing others, like the distinctive flavor of a pinot noir or chardonnay grape. It would also be much faster than the years it takes to grow hybrids.

I really hope the CGB makes it into a novel someday. That’s the sort of name that I’d make up. And regarding teh science, just remember people, we’ve been genetically modifying plants for ages. Ditto for animals. That’s what crossbreeding is all about.

These guys want to do it in a more controlled fashion. They don’t seem to be adding in genes from other species or anything whacky. I’d drink their wine.

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