This news story is not exactly news. We already know that synthetic meat is under development in various labs around the world. But it does raise a fresh issue or two.
By Harriet McLeo, for Reuters: South Carolina scientist works to grow meat in lab
In a small laboratory on an upper floor of the basic science building at the Medical University of South Carolina, Vladimir Mironov, M.D., Ph.D., has been working for a decade to grow meat.
A developmental biologist and tissue engineer, Dr. Mironov, 56, is one of only a few scientists worldwide involved in bioengineering “cultured” meat.
It’s a product he believes could help solve future global food crises resulting from shrinking amounts of land available for growing meat the old-fashioned way … on the hoof.
Growth of “in-vitro” or cultured meat is also under way in the Netherlands, Mironov told Reuters in an interview, but in the United States, it is science in search of funding and demand.
Interestingly, the scientist at the centre of this story raises the question of genetic modification. Genetic modification isn’t a necessary part of making synthetic meat, but it might be useful in tailoring the meat in various ways:
“It will be functional, natural, designed food,” Mironov said. “How do you want it to taste? You want a little bit of fat, you want pork, you want lamb? We design exactly what you want. We can design texture.
“I believe we can do it without genes. But there is no evidence that if you add genes the quality of food will somehow suffer. Genetically modified food is already normal practice and nobody dies.”
So, are there people out there who would be in favour of synthetic meat but against genetically-modified synthetic meat?