The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Yeast's life extended 10-fold in lab

colinwhipple's picture

Yeast's life extended 10-fold in lab,1,2650493.story?coll=la-headlines-nation

"USC researchers have extended the life span of baker's yeast 10-fold through a combination of genetic manipulation and caloric restriction, marking the greatest increase in prolonging life ever achieved in the laboratory."

This Los Angeles Times article probably doesn't have much relevance to what we do in real life, but I think some of us will find it interesting. 



umbreadman's picture

Genetic manipulation has always intrigued and scared me. It's always interesting to find out how genes help regulate functioning in organisms, but it almost always leads to researchers trying to figure out how to create a drug / technique to manipulate human, or some other organism's, genetic material. To be perfectly honest, the vast majority of genetic manipulation by humans is #$#%ed up at best and usually only benefits the military (dolphins and moths as recon tools, true), multinational agribusiness (monsanto modifying food crop genes to produce sterile seeds/approval of cloned livestock for food production), or pharmaceuticals (endless list i'm sure).

We shouldn't be trying to live longer through genetic manipulation or drugs. We should be trying to live higher quality, more enriching lives. Eating McDonalds, smoking 3 packs a day, and tv dinners cannot be counter-acted by some gene therapy or pill without complicating and i'm sure unpleasant results for the individual. What we really need to do is change the American mindset about our lifestyle. No, I'm sorry you can't have your McD's, smokes, and a sedentary lifestyle and live problem-free. It's survival of the fittest/wisest kids. Not a race to the end.

Really, all this research is telling us, ultimately, is that differences in genes give advantages to certain strains of organisms (that's new..), and that fasting (caloric restriction) has health benefits. Instead of looking for genes that may prevent cancer, why don't we teach people that eating your greens and not your Dairy Queen's will probably help prevent cancer? Taking a walk in the park in the fresh air will do so much more good than sitting in a hole in the wall eating deep fried buffalo wings and puffing in cigarettes.

Mind you, none of this has to do with bread. But really, all the things we're doing here as a community of bread lovers is exactly what people need. to start working together to bring our collective mindset to the understanding that taking care of yourself has so many psychological and physical benefits that the corporate overseer cannot provide you without harming his all important wallet. that supporting a more personal relationship with your food and environment is a great way to a better, healthier life.

And maybe, if we all eat more locally produced veggies instead of funky imported foods, meats, and highly processed cholesterol in a box/can, there'd be a lot more healthy people and less strain on agriculture overall and more people could get fed. But I think I should stop because I could talk for hours about these things and i can feel myself getting angry at the world...


ehanner's picture

I couldn't agree more. When I hear stories about muddling about in our food systems I get a mental picture of a toddler sitting on the floor with an armed bomb, playing with the controls. You know the outcome will eventually be bad. I do appreciate the work being done on neuron issues. Being able to turn off a gene and help a Parkinson's patient would be a wonderful thing. Eating fried food that doesn't absorb isn't so wonderful.

Good bread, made simply, is what the generations before lived and thrived upon. God help us if someone discovers wheat grains can make ethanol efficiently.


umbreadman's picture

It's sad you should bring up the wheat/ethanol thing. I was just reading an article on the nytimes about how, since palm oil is in such huge demand as a biofuel, many countries that grow it are having huge amounts of trouble; a run on cooking oil in China killed three and injured 31. 

I agree about all the benefits we could reap from gene research, it's undeniable. what's also undeniable is that human beings can be selfish, greedy, and immoral. And they can run countries....

The potential for badness is....well, it's definately there, and i'll leave it at that.


suave's picture

Reading that article does make you think we're on the verge of a Malthusian crisis.

colinwhipple's picture

Regarding education on these matters:

My guess is that there are far more people in the United States who have heard that fast food is bad for you and eat it anyway than there are people who eat without knowing it is bad for them.


I think it is more a question of motivation and priorities than knowledge.



umbreadman's picture

you'd be surprised exactly how many people do and do not understand a lot of the things we take as common logic. also, a lot of people are aware of the proven facts about health, but just choose to not believe that it's truth. Like the people who believe we really wanted to get WMD's out of Iraq, or like someone else on the boards said, that the FDA is really interested in our well-being.

I feel like there are lots of social pressures on these kinds of decisions. If you can't get to or afford decent food from the store but you can get a couple quarter pounders with cheese from McD's because the gov't lets them do business cheaply and without proper oversight, where are you gonna get your food?

*sigh* I've also been talking with a friend of mine who's very socially concerned, so I'm on a bit of a public health/social justice kick right now. I'll try and turn it down, since this is a place for bread and joy. 


mkelly27's picture

To All: It's like a nice dinner party of friends here. Please do not interject your political views here, it's just bad form. Thank you. Mike


Redundancy is your friend, so is redundancy

Thegreenbaker's picture

I didnt think Umbreadman was being overtly pollitical. They were examples...and ones that made me think about what he was saying.



Still, I gont agree with GMO Foods. I seem to get this mental picture of super yeast. Stuff that doest die in the oven heat and gives us all candida from out heads to our toes (actually quite a serious thing)


What nature gave us is enough. We lived, survived and thrived over the millenia. Why, now, do we need to play with the DNA just so we can make yeast better? How on earth would it make it BETTER? OR CHEAPER?

You can buy name brand flour at a supermarket for 29p (UK) 48 cents (AUST) and I am sure just as cheaply anywhere else. buy some cheap yeast.......and you have breakfast and lunch for 2 days for LESS than 2 big macs and probably more nuitrition. EVEN if you put honey or vegemite on it.

It is about knowledge and education. If you dont know better than just "Maccas is bad for you" if you dont know more about nurtition and how to eat healthily and cheaply then this is where you end up- eating 2 big macs.I think it is also about people motivation. Do they really care about themselves? MC Donalds are super rich from super sizing and feeding the masses of people who dont care.

I have a friend, she and I had a discussion about food and nutrition. (I am the nutrition junkie) I am by no means thin (size10-12 depending where in the world you are) and I dont exercise....not at the moment. But food nutrition IS important and is cheaply done...I was at the poverty line only 2 years ago and lived healthily with out hassle...perhaps better than most people...vegies and pulses cost less than meat and frozen foods. ;) .....but my friend said to me...."you care, you care about what goes into your body......I just....DONT."

I think that made me look at her differently, and it also made me realise that that is how so many other people feel.


I'm rambling......sorry!


Thegreenbaker's picture

I get such a huge knot of anxiety in my stomach when I read stuff like that.


There contains so much propensity for good, but so much more for bad.