Yeast's winter digs

paulanerResearchers report online on July 30, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that the common yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a key component of wine, beer and other fermented foods, spend their winters in the guts of social wasps. These wasps not only serve them as a wintering spot, but they also help them disperse over new territory.
According to the authors, this wasp-yeast relationship has deeply influenced the yeast's evolutionary history, "...wasps could play a role both in maintaining ecological diversity and in conserving the yeast populations evolved in human 'ersatz' (replacement) environments established throughout the centuries by means of vine culture and wine production."
Original Article: Role of social wasps in Saccharomyces cerevisiae ecology and evolution


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