‘Proudly GMO’ probiotic takes aim at hangovers. Can it ease consumer fear of biotechnology?

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Image: ZBiotics

On [August 17], a San Francisco-based start-up called ZBiotics celebrated the launch of its first product in a fitting way: with a party. The ZBiotics team headed to a Mission District nightclub called Public Works and handed out shot-sized vials of its new probiotic drink. The vials were filled with bacteria that the company had genetically engineered to break down acetaldehyde—a molecule that lingers in the body after alcohol is metabolized.

Biotech’s latest target? The hangover.

ZBiotics began selling the drink online last week. It’s likely the world’s first genetically engineered probiotic, and the start-up isn’t bashful that it’s a genetically-modified organism, or GMO.

Related article:  Farm groups back South Australia plan to allow GMO crop cultivation, citing 'freedom of choice' for growers

The company says GMOs have gotten a bad rap for their lack of perceivable benefits to consumers. The genetically modified crops sold in the US are largely engineered for traits that protect them from insects and herbicides. Those traits are designed to increase yields and cut costs for farmers, but the benefit isn’t usually obvious to consumers.

Read full, original article: The world’s first GMO probiotic is for sale; it’s designed to prevent hangovers

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