Maybe U.S. politicians should pay attention to the way their counterparts in Britain are tackling the important issues. The British government has decided to shell out £1 million (that’s about $1.5 million) to fund researchers trying to create a synthetic yeast that’ll help brewers make stronger, cheaper beer.
Why in the world would a government spend money like that? One, because they have their priorities in the right place. Two, because this research would also result in the “first-ever synthetic lifeform.” (What could go wrong?) Scientists’ first order of business will be to construct a version of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the yeast used to ferment beer. After that, they’ll attempt to change the yeast’s genome — yeast is a living organism — to tolerate more alcohol before dying.
We’re all for a more potent beer, but what happens if these lab-created molecules go all Rage Virus or morph into giant blood-sucking paramecium? According to the Brits, there’s nothing to worry about on that front, as the organism will be incapable of thriving in the wild. Hmm … where have we heard that one before?