Test tube created meat has been in the works for a while now. In fact, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has had a contest on for four years for scientists to create test tube chicken meat. The prize is a hefty $1 million and the contest actually ends this June. The idea behind creating meat in a lab, using stem cells, is that the current method of making meat available requires a lot of resources. Land is cleared for grazing, cattle is reared, slaughtered and whichever body parts can be used are sold off, but there is still a lot of waste. According to Mashable, about 100 pounds of resources is needed to obtain 15 pounds of usable meat. There is also the humane rationale of not needing to slaughter animals for human profit.
Would you like your stem cells well done?
Enter Mark Post, Chairman of Physiology at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Post has received $3,30,000 (approx Rs.16,232,621) from an anonymous source to transform stem cells obtained from cattle into inch-long strips of muscle tissue. For a quick biology lesson, stem cells are undifferentiated cells, which have the potential of turning into specified cells based on signals provided to them. If you remember the South Park episode with Christopher Reeve, stem cell research is ethically debated, because of its use of foetuses, but has great potential for helping humans with degenerative ailments.
Christopher Reeve obtaining his stem cells in South Park
The meat strips created by Mark Post at Maastricht University can be mashed together to form entire hamburger patties. The colour of the meat varies from whitish pink to pinkish yellow. There is no word yet on how this test tube created meat tastes or what its health benefits are. Would you eat test tube created meat if it tasted the same as your regular animal provided meat? Let us know in the comments section below.