Yeast is easy to work with for such wannabe DNA tinkerers, but doesn't the fact that it lives happily in the wild, floating invisibly around us, make the potential for its accidental release more of a concern than the escape of other micro-organisms?
Well, my point is not completely unfounded. In a Popular Mechanics article "Better Beer from Genetically Engineered Yeast":
The ecological concern is more nuanced, Verstrepen says. Here, his main concern is the prospect of introducing non-yeast genes into a yeast, with the worry that these new, human-picked genes could be bred or passed on across yeasts in the outside world. "And this is a serious concern. You need to understand what you're doing, and make sure you're not going to accidentally confer some ecological advantage to the outside population," he says.
Even if these new yeasts were to escape, he explains, the chances of them out-competing other, wild yeast species—given that beer yeast is tailored to perform in a very unnatural environment—is unlikely, but certainly worth watching for.I see that anti GM advocates are ahead of me, and that genetically modified yeast has already been used for lots of purposes, including drug production. This article speculates on the possible health effects on humans getting an accidental GM modified yeast in their gut. ( I assume that they don't actually normally take up residence there, but I'd have to read more about it.)
Going back to a science journal, I see a link to a paper in 1994 about an experiment to see if a GM modified yeast did well in a "natural" environment. I wonder if such tests are required on all GM modified yeasts before they are used?
Curious minds - well mine, anyway - would like to know....