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USA: GM vine could combat Pierce's Disease

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The GM spotlight could soon be glaring down on wine after scientists claimed that the first genetically modified wine could soon combat Pierce's Disease, the bacterium currently ravaging parts of California through the glassy-winged sharpshooter.

Scientists from the University of Florida are reported to have successfully used a virus common in plant bacteria to insert a gene derived from silkworms into embryonic grapes. According to a report by New Scientist the silkworm gene then creates a protein, which is attracted to cell membranes which eventually kills the cell which causes Pierce's Disease.

However safety concerns are likely to be raised because melittin, a related protein is also present in bee venom and has been known to cause anaphylactic shock in humans.


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