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back to article Barley’s giant genome sequenced and open-sourced

Better beer from genome sequencing is just one possible outcome from research that included the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG) and the University of Adelaide. As well as the usual published-in-Nature for their research paper, the genome sequence and other resources have been published here and here, or …

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Pint

I'll drink to that!

obvious icon is obvious

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Anonymous Coward

Priorities

Since barley – the world’s number-four cereal crop – is related to wheat, the research could have applications to wheat research as well.

Wheat is the number one cereal, with 4.3 times the production of barley by weight. Rice and maize (corn) are numbers two and three.

Glad to see these lads know what's really important :D

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Anonymous Coward

"Boffins build better booze bible"

Hardly. They've forgotten the hops.

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Pint

I suspect that better beer ...

... rather comes from actually making one small change in the brewing process at a time. In 5 gallon increments, taking detailed notes. Then translating what comes out tasty to either "c'mon over, bring meat, the beer is on me!" ... or to 35 gallon batches[1], before going industrial, if you lean that way.

All the Genome research in the world can't help a brewer make good beer.

Beer, well, because.

[1] Note the plural ... if you can't duplicate it at 35 gallons, forget about attempting 6,000.

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FAIL

The first thing that came to mind on reading the headline was Nathan Barley

Icon for me.

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Anonymous Coward

/Whiske?y/

I'm worried about the long-term health implications for people in Glasgow drinking scotch made from GM crops.

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Re: /Whiske?y/

All liquor, wine, beer, mead, cyser, etc. everywhere, from time immemorial[1], has been made with human engineered genetically modified crops. Even if the humans involved didn't realize they were genetically modifying the DNA to produce the best booze.

[1] I'll set "immemorial" at 20,000 years ago, plus or minus ...

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Happy

Re: /Whiske?y/

"I'm worried about the long-term health implications for people in Glasgow drinking scotch made from GM crops."

You mean the extended life expectancy?

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Boffin

Re: /Whiske?y/

This is because you clearly have absolutelyno understanding of what the letters 'GM' mean, how the technology works, or how much genetic material ends up in whisk(e)y from the ingredients (hint: it's a round number).

The brewing process involves various stages of boiling, mashing, fermenting and filtering. In this process, any DNA from the grain would be destroyed or removed by the heating, and by the fact that alcohol causes DNA to precipitate from solution.

Distillation involves boiling and re-condensing the liquid, a process in which only the volatile components are likely to remain. Often, this is a multi-stage distillation. DNA is not volatile, so any that might have miraculously remained intact and present in the mash would be destroyed by the heating, and even if it wasn't destroyed by that, it is not volatile, so would remain in the distillation residue.

Any fragments of DNA produced by these processes that originated from GM material would be indistinguishable from 'natural' DNA fragments, since GM DNA is comprised of the identical four components as any other DNA; the only difference being that the sequence has been put there by man, and not by 'nature'/'god'.

GM sequences are generally added to organisms to cuase them to produce specific proteins. Have a guess as to what happens to all proteins during the brewing and distillation processes? Here's a clue: most proteins will generally fall apart on their own if left in an evironment which is not the inside of a cell.

It is not by chance that teh legislation currently going through in California to have any food containing GM ingredients labelled as such specifically excludes alcoholic products, as there is no chance of them containing the genes or proteins coded for by those genes, of genetically modified organisms.

But hey, it's always easier to shout out some ill-informed bollocks than to actually know what you are talking abotut, isn't it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Commander Data from Star Trek

No, this is because you clearly have absolutelyno understanding of humour, like the previous reply by Mister Spock up there.

Sheesh...

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Pint

Nordein-free barley would be nice

Real tasting ale without the gut problems.

Don't give a damn about gluten-free wheat.

Cider icon again as Coeliac sufferer.

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John Barleycorn

Must die!

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Boffin

32 000 Genes?

Isn't that about the same number as humans?

So does that make it the most advanced plant on the planet or are we the dumbest intelligent species in the universe?

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Trollface

Re: 32 000 Genes?

Yes

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Re: 32 000 Genes?

Nope. Number of genes does more or less equate to organism complexity, but most people have the idea of "genetic complexity" and [success/fitness/intelligence/top-of-the-foodchain] confused.

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Bronze badge

They have worked their will on John Barleycorn

But he lived to tell the tale,

For they pour him out of an old brown jug

And they call him home brewed ale.

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This post has been deleted by its author

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I welcome any research into beer

However I do not expect any immediate results. Plants and ecosystems are very very complex. Science may tell us that a gene does such and such but it may do so much more as well. The improvement of one feature deemed useful for one thing may result in a loss of another as yet unidentified feature.

In science terms we are romping forward. In green engineering terms we probably have another century to go before we can dream of getting to Tacoma narrows type disasters.

I know this as I grow my own barley for my own beer. Modern improved varieties barely survive here but old varieties from before the victorian 'improvements' do quite well. OK I may have high protein barley that takes a bit more effort to get crystal clear but it tastes bloody good cloudy even if the pretentious market wont touch it. And the barley straw is worth more than the grain!

Oh and around here we have maybe 40 acres of grains (other than mine) being grown for animal fodder using modern varieties and modern techniques and modern chemicals. According to the domesday book there were 1200 acres of ploughland in the same area - probably 1/2 would have been barley.

Its easy to make modern varieties look good if the old ones have been wiped out and you specifically measure only one feature of production. Listen to the science - not the salesmen.

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Pint

Better Beer?

Or just better than Australian beer?

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Re: Better Beer?

I will create 1,000 sock puppet accounts just to up-vote your truthiness enough!

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Pint

Re: Better Beer?

@Mongo

Took the words out of my mouth!

OTH I can't really see a lot of point to this sort of stuff. After all, as far as I am concerned, it's the taste that counts, not what DNA structure it may or may not have.

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