Drinkers may, I repeat may, eventually be freed from bad hangovers by genetic engineering of yeasts, or so says the Daily Telegraph.The breakthrough concerns a gene slicing “knife” that permits precise elimination of certain molecular sequences.
A professor of microbial genomics at the University of Illinois, Yong-Su Jin, has found a way to change the way yeast reproduces. By altering its DNA, his team can increase the amount of nutritional components in the yeast while at the same time reducing the toxic byproducts that cause hangovers.
My instinct in this kind of announcement is to wait awhile before declaring victory. Inasmuch as a hangover may still be primarily the result of alcohol stripping water from the body – which is why you have to piss so much when drinking – no genetic change in yeasts or grapes will eliminate the sad consequences of too much pleasure.
I shall cite Johnson writing to Boswell:
“I must entreat you to be scrupulous in the use of strong liquors. One night’s drunkenness may defeat the labours of forty days well employed.”
Johnson: Letter to Boswell