09 July 2009

Tube Steak

Test tube, that is. Coming soon to a grocery store near you, meat that is designed in Petri dishes then transferred into large vats to grow.

Rapidly evolving technology and increasing concern about the environmental impact of meat production are signs that vat-grown meat is moving from scientific curiosity to consumer option. In vitro meat production is a specialized form of tissue engineering, a biomedical practice in which scientists try to grow animal tissues like bone, skin, kidneys and hearts. Proponents say it will ultimately be a more efficient way to make animal meat, which would reduce the carbon footprint of meat products.

Researchers can currently grow small amounts of meat in the lab, and have even been able to get heart cells to beat in Petri dishes. Growing muscle cells on an industrial scale is the next step, scientists say.

So, for all you meat eaters out there, here is a way to eat animal flesh and be able to say that you are no longer contributing to animal cruelty or environmental degradation.

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