March 16, 2012

SCIENCE!! Comics - Episode Five, "Would you eat test tube meat?"

This week! Would you eat test tube meat?

This week's comic was based on several recent news articles about test tube meat, or "in vitro meat" (it's not actually grow in a test tube). Ground meats grown in vitro are probably not far from our grocery store shelves (it's harder to grow meat in the shape of drumsticks, steaks, etc.). They could help provide protein for a world population that's emptying the oceans of fish and crowding the surface with livestock, but are they a good solution? (Scientifically, probably. Economically, we don't know yet.)
New Harvest, which is trying to grow in vitro meat, has an FAQ about how it works.

Posted By: Winifred Kehl, Communications


Sam Porter said...

Fascinating! I like the sustainability aspect of this concept (using fewer resources and such). The idea of it being a way to "provide for a world population" makes me wonder if it would be tested/mainly marketed toward impoverished nations/3rd world countries that have nutritional deficiencies. That is disconcerting to me.

Burke Museum said...

As far as I know, it isn't intended only for impoverished nations. I think the groups developing these meats see a lot of potential - meat for carnivores who'd rather not kill animals, meat where you can limit the fat content, eliminating waste (Winston Churchill apparently once said, "We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium."), and using less resources so more people can eat meat in general (because as people rise out of poverty, they start buying more meat).

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