Hard candy

合成生物学的差劲赌注

拉斯维加斯——拉斯维加斯似乎是发动一场冒险的企业赌博,毁掉数以百万计小农生计的恰当地点。本月早些时候,国际食品巨头嘉吉选择该市著名的拉斯维加斯大道发布它所期待的下一代重磅产品:与甜叶菊有着相同成分的甜味剂EverSweet

但尽管嘉吉依赖甜叶菊进行促销宣传,EverSweet却不含一丁点植物成分。嘉吉公司这种新产品是合成生物学的成果,合成生物学是基因工程的一种,即用转基因生物制造永远不可能自然合成的化合物。EverSweet是一种生物工程酵母制成的化合物,它的甜味并非来源于甜叶菊。

合成生物学是高科技,但也可能伴随着高风险。即便吸引了数亿美元的投资,但由此引发的国际关注也一天胜似一天。很显然,嘉吉只字不提它使用有争议的技术;相反,这家公司将EverSweet说成是“特制的烘焙师酵母”,好像配方出自几个世纪前的巴伐利亚乡村。

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