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In Vitro Meat - meat of the future?

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In Vitro Meat - meat of the future?

Postby mymagic123 » Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:56 am

In-Vitro meat is the manufacturing of meat products through "tissue-engineering" technology. Cultured meat (= in-vitro meat) could have financial, health, environmental, and animal welfare advantages over traditional meat. The idea: To produce animal meat, simply without using an animal. Starting cells are taken painlessly from live animals, they are put into a culture media where they start to proliferate and grow, independently from the animal. Theoretically, this process would be efficient enough to supply the global demand for meat. All this would happen without any genetic manipulation, i.e. without the need to interfere with the cells’ genetic sequences.

For more see http://www.futurefood.org/in-vitro-meat/index_en.php
or http://www.invitromeat.org/

What do you think about this start of such visionary ideas?

there is also a new consortium of scientists on this issue, see
http://www.invitromeat.org/
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Re: In Vitro Meat - meat of the future?

Postby biohazard » Tue Mar 04, 2008 12:11 pm

In the future, people probably look back at us with disgust, thinking that we were such barbarians because we ate flesh of REAL animals. After all, not too long ago, such fascinating dishes as eyes, brains, stomaches and testicles, among many other exotic body parts, were very hip - and today, many of us think that only animals could eat stuff like that ;)

Now, of course, it has been proved to be extremely challenging to grow living tissues or organs in vitro (afaik only some success with blood vessels, neurons and skin or so). Biological systems are so delicate, that growing an organ with proper functionality requires adjusting so many variables, such as nutrients, hormones, cell-to-cell interaction, temperature, etc etc, that the day when we are able to grow, say, a functional heart in vitro, is probably still far away.

This being said, edible, artificial meat probably doesn't require that much functional capacities, just that it looks, tastes and feels about like normal meat. This shouldn't be as demanding technically: you could just attach your engineered "mini-meat" onto a some sort of a mechanical stretcher with electrical stimulus, give it an occasional twitch or two for exercise and watch your meat grow. Of course, you'd need to pump some hormones, growth factors and nutrients on it as well. If our meat requires some nerves and blood vessels, that may prove to be a bit more difficult to manufacture.

Anyways, in vitro meat could be reality in not-too-distant future, I'm pretty sure about that. Although I believe that the technology to do that will be there much sooner than the day when people are actually willing to eat fillets grown in a tank :P

But yes, sounds like a possible scenario to me - it's interesting to see wether we manage to build in vitro organs for organ transplantation first, or do we have to eat them because they're good food even though they don't work properly!
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