The good news is we officially can stop stressing about the existence and safety of cloned meat. The bad news is that's because scientists have moved onto bigger (and better?) things.
Namely, in vitro meat.
Crazy as it might sound, the idea of edible "meat" creations is far from fiction. A scientist working in the Netherlands has already produced a hamburger patty out made of thin strips of beef tissue that he grew in a lab. Granted, the five-ounce patty cost a small fortune to make, but in vitro meat supporters say large-scale manufacturing could be heading our way.
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PETA supports the idea, natch. And even offered a $1 million in 2008 to anyone who could develop a marketable in vitro meat. The animal rights group says meat grown in a lab would take away the guilt of eating a once-living animal. Of course, if you have no such guilt in the first place, then the idea just sounds pretty gross.
And besides the immediate WTF factor, there's the outrageous price. It costs $325,000 to create the "meat," partially because the materials needed included fetal calf serum, which would have to be replaced with a material of non-animal origin to cut costs in the future.
As far as taste goes, scientist Mark Post, who created the burger, said that, in his taste tests, the tissue tasted "reasonably good." We'll take that statement with a grain or two of salt considering the patty has no fat, and fat is, like, the most delicious part of a burger patty.
If we were able to grow the meat at a low cost, advocates say in vitro meat could also help, you guessed it, end world hunger. So now in addition to suggesting starving nations eat bugs, we also want to grow and feed them fat-free test-tube meat.
And what about you? Would you eat in vitro meat?