Biotech wine

Published: Wednesday 30 June 1993

-- CHEERS! But be warned, the champagne in your glass may actually be a genetically engineered brew. A team of French researchers at a research centre run by champagne manufacturers Moet-Hennessy-Louis Vuitton in Colombes, near Paris, has genetically engineered grapes and implanted their cells with genes that protect them against the notorious grape fan leaf virus (Science, Vol 260, No 5104).

The virus, rampant in the world-famous vineyards of France and Germany, disfigures and corrupts vines and substantially reduces yield.

Michel Boulay, who heads the research team, assures sceptical purists they will get a chance to savour transgenic champagne before large-scale planting is undertaken. But all this won't happen before the end of the century.

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