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In-Vitro Muscle Cells, It's What's For Dinner

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the just-like-mom-used-to-grow dept.

Biotech 619

wanzeo writes "Within the last decade, many of us have experienced the encroachment of ethics into our mealtime. Phrases such as vegetarian, vegan, organic, bST, GMO, etc. have become part of common grocery store advertising. The most recent addition to the list of ethically charged food is in-vitro meat, or meat that was cultured in a petri dish, and was never part of a live animal. The project has been brought to fruition by Mark Post, a biologist at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. Grown using animal stem-cells on a nutrient medium, the nearly see-through strips of muscle would need to be stacked nearly 3,000 times to approach the thickness of a burger. The practice promises to be more humane, sustainable, and efficient than conventional meats, with one analysis suggesting it would, 'use 35 to 60 percent less energy, emit 80 to 95 percent less greenhouse gas and use around 98 percent less land.' In a world where nearly half of all crop production is used to feed livestock, a move towards artificial meat may be inevitable."

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Everybody will still want the real thing (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040966)

Soylent Green. Because you're what's for dinner.

Monsanto (5, Insightful)

scifiber_phil (630217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040994)

Monsanto will patent it, claim real meat infringes, then make us all eat it. No labelling of fake meat will be allowed, so we won't know what we are eating. At that time maybe I'll try the frankensalmon.

Re:Monsanto (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041068)

If real meat becomes forbidden (infringes), then we'll all know we are eating fake meat, won't we?

Unless real meat doesn't infringe, in which case you can keep eating it.

Except that maybe you accidentally choose to eat synthetic meat because you won't notice the difference.

Which would be kind of "mission accomplished".

Re:Monsanto (2)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041346)

If real meat becomes forbidden (infringes), then we'll all know we are eating fake meat, won't we?

Doubleplus good! [youtube.com]

Re:Monsanto (5, Insightful)

scifiber_phil (630217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041482)

I realize that if all meat was synthetic, there would be no need to label it as such. I was just referencing the fact that in Pennsylvania and other states, there was a market for milk from cows not being given growth hormone. In Pennsylvania, the secretary of agriculture was set to disallow the labelling of milk as being free of growth hormone. There was enough pushback from those wanting to buy growth hormone-free milk and those just wanting to know what they were drinking to force the secretary to backtrack on the order. I was angry and still am angry that a state official was comfortable hiding what was in our food for the sake of lobbying interests. I was just trying to make the point that we are being force-fed GM foods, and in most cases, there have been no long term studies as to safety. I was trying to make humorously the point that GM foods are being rammed down our throats whether we like it our not, and regardless of safety concerns. Call me crazy, but I still want to make my own life choices, and not have the government and corporations make them for me. Just for the record, in food, "you won't notice the difference" does not equate to safe to eat. Safe to eat is actually the most important part of "mission accomplished".

Re:Monsanto (5, Insightful)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041410)

I'm actually fine with this idea of 'fake meat', as long as it's done well. If it tastes and behaves similarly to 'real meat', and is made from actual real animal cells... I'm just fine with the idea. I'd be more worried about genetically modified meat -- but this stuff is not modified in that way. It's just cells grown in a non-standard incubation system (i.e., a lab dish, as opposed to a sack of other meat cells).

Just Muscle Cells? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040996)

Sounds too lean.

Re:Just Muscle Cells? (1)

itsenrique (846636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041366)

My guess is they would add in fat as close to beef fat (tallow), as possible. And some iron (If it could be heme iron I don't know) and other minerals. Don't forget the inedble gristle, OK, forget that.

We already have this. (5, Funny)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041402)

Synthetically Produced Animal Matter: SPAM.

Embrace the Future (5, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041000)

Synthetic meat is still too expensive. This process will be optimized to a fabricated protein paste fed through a tube to power your assigned functions until you wear out and are flushed. Witness the progress of humanity.

Pigs, cows, chickens... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041082)

You mean exactly like what we do with farm animals?

Food myths (1, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041220)

People who think meat is inefficient compared to vegetable don't understand that Grazing animal use the massive tracts of un-airable land and don't require labor and oil and pesticide intensive production techniques. Water is our most precious resource and growing crops uses massive amounts of it, and the run off poisons streams. It can even leave land too salty or nutrient deprived for anything but specialized fertilizer fed crops. You can of course over graze too, as seen by the desertification of some areas. The point is that saying crop growing is always more efficient that raising cattle shows a profound misunderstanding of the earth. Eat a banana and it probably traveled 2500 miles, was grown in a chopped-down rain forest, with massive amounts of pesticide.

Re:Food myths (4, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041290)

And what do you think all those burgers ate when they were still cows? Soja and corn that was grown especially for them. For the soja alone, massive amounts of rainforest are cut down in countries like Brazil every year.

Re:Food myths (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041426)

its soy

and no. the best meat is grassfed.

Re:Food myths (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041480)

its soy

and no. the best meat is grassfed.

But MOST meat (at least in the US and I believe in Europe) is NOT grassfed. It's feedlotted (there, I made something up). And as tsa said, that takes a lot of resources.

That said, I can't imagine that vat grown 'meat' would take less resources - you're talking about a complicated industrial process with a lot of feedstock.

Re:Food myths (5, Insightful)

phulegart (997083) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041298)

Grazing animal use the massive tracts of un-airable land and don't require labor and oil and pesticide intensive production techniques.

Unfortunately, these same Grazing animals don't graze any more, and we have to bring the food to them. Oh, sure, there are "Free Range" animals, but the meat produced from them is more expensive. The majority of the meat produced from these Grazing Animals does require labor and oil and pesticide... because we must grow the food for these animals, harvest the food for these animals, and transport the food for these animals. That requires pesticide, labor, and oil.

Thus meat production *IS* more inefficient than growing vegetables, because it involves the process *OF* growing vegetables, plus a whole lot more.

Ok, ok... so Hay isn't any kind of vegetable you or I would eat. But it is still sown, grown, harvested and transported.

Re:Food myths (5, Informative)

affenhund (1371117) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041300)

People who think meat is inefficient compared to vegetable don't understand that Grazing animal use the massive tracts of un-airable land and don't require labor and oil and pesticide intensive production techniques. [...] Eat a banana and it probably traveled 2500 miles, was grown in a chopped-down rain forest, with massive amounts of pesticide.

Excuse me, but you are either extremely naive or an idiot! You really think that the animals that were farmed for meat all grazed happily on green meadows? Yeah sure! These are all lies after all: "The escalation in forest destruction is driven by the global livestock industry. The vast majority (above 80%) of soybeans are bound for animal feedlots, providing protein for cattle, hogs and poultry. The European Union (EU) is the largest importer of Argentinian soybean meal, with imports to EU agribusinesses accounting for almost 50% of all global trade in soymeal (3)." http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/the-expanding-soybean-frontier.pdf [greenpeace.org]

Cows from Space! (5, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041390)

Grazing animal use the massive tracts of un-airable (sic) land

I for one welcome the introduction of vacuum-packed burgers from vacuum-sucking cows.

But doesn't it take more energy to get them to the moon (the closest "un-airable" land) than it would to just use ordinary air-breathing cows?

No thanks (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041002)

If I want non meat protein, there's plenty of plant-based sources. If I want meat, I prefer it come from an animal. I have no qualms about killing an animal for meat. I also find sanitized supermarket packaging retarded. Trying to detach meat from the idea an animal died for it is twisted. People shouldn't hind from that fact and be respectful an animal died for the meat.

Re:No thanks (2)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041052)

Did you actually read the summary? It is possible that a lot of energy can be saved by this process. The research costs are probably high, but that can be amortised in the long run.

Trying to detach meat from the idea an animal died for it is twisted. People shouldn't hind from that fact and be respectful an animal died for the meat.

In this case, an animal did not die for it. It is about as ethical or unethical as any other synthetically produced food.

Re:No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041072)

If I want meat, I prefer it come from an animal.

Any particular reason?

Given that at some point in the future, if they were able to produce a synthetic meat product that is chemically, texturally, and ...uh, flavorally indistinguishable from the natural version, what reason would there be for insisting an animal die for your dinner instead?

Re:No thanks (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041126)

Probably because it's creepy and is likely to come with any number of unforeseen consequences. Plus, just because it's like meat doesn't mean that it's going to have the same effect on the body. Which could be a good thing, but then again there's all sorts of nutrients that are no longer common in our diets because the food scientists designing our meals didn't think to include them. Iodine is a common one to be deficient in around here, and that's largely because it doesn't get added to our foods along with the salt.

A fake salmon like meat isn't likely to have any iodine in it at all.

Re:No thanks (0)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041184)

Not killing animals is creepy, huh? Seems pretty ridiculous. And the fact that you, random guy on the internet, have managed to consider nutrient levels in the first few minutes probably guarantees that the incredibly smart people behind these developments will probably think about those too before anything like this is brought to market. Iodine is a particularly ironic example because it is the poster child for addition after the fact. That represents no real barrier at all.

Re:No thanks (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041242)

And yet fully a quarter of all Americans are deficient in iodine. It's not a poster child for addition after the fact because it doesn't happen very often in the US. Just look at your foods if you don't believe me, it's rarely if ever included in processed foods, pretty much never in foods that are eaten at restaurants, and unless you specifically buy iodized salt chances are that it isn't in table salt either.

Perhaps if you weren't talking out of your ass we might make some progress on the issue. Just because it's obvious doesn't mean that it's something that's being taken seriously by the people making it.

Iodine happens to be one of the more obvious ones, I'm sure there are a few that are going to slip by because they always do. The more industrialized the food industry becomes the more these things become prevalent. Just look at that stupid gold rice thing in Asia. The only reason why they need golden rice is because they're no longer eating the greens that they traditionally ate along with the rice and now have vitamin deficiencies as a result.

Re:No thanks (4, Informative)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041350)

You're the one talking out of your ass. Iodine levels in the US population are considered on average higher than they should be, according [who.int] to the World Health Organization. Maybe you should check your information before you parrot.

Re:No thanks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041258)

Probably because it's creepy and is likely to come with any number of unforeseen consequences.

Slaughterhouses are pretty damn creepy, and factory farming (our current most popular method of providing meat) has had a shitload of bad consequences for us and the environment. The question is, would the alternative be preferable?

Plus, just because it's like meat doesn't mean that it's going to have the same effect on the body

Right, but I'm talking about a 100% substitute, that is not just like meat, but is meat - the only difference is it's not grown by an animal.

Such a product would have exactly the same effect on the body. There's nothing magical about animal flesh that makes it more nutritious or more easily digestible.

A fake salmon like meat isn't likely to have any iodine in it at all.

And if you want iodine in it, you add iodine to it.

Re:No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041214)

Trying to detach meat from the idea an animal died for it is twisted. People shouldn't hind from that fact and be respectful an animal died for the meat.

This is a really naive point of veiw. I doubt very few people don't accept the fact that the meat they're eating comes from an animal that's been slaughtered somewhere else.

There's a reason why such lower-level functions are segregated and removed from our daily lives, and that reason is called Division of Labor and has generally allowed our society to progress and expand to where it is today. The fact that animal slaughter (for example) is removed from everyone's daily lives allows us to do something else that we're better at with that time. It's just not practical for everyone who eats meat to obtain it from the source itself.

With your attitude, you must believe that a having someone else build your house is retarded since it "hides" the fact that it takes a lot of hard work and kills a lot of trees

Offtopic - please make the sourceforge thing go! (3, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041006)

Offtopic I know,

but are we stuck with that big square box now?

Re:Offtopic - please make the sourceforge thing go (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041040)

I like it. Followed the link and discovered autoap. Been passively looking for something like that for a while.

Re:Offtopic - please make the sourceforge thing go (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041328)

That's great!

I'm only responding to the overpowering size and placement, and maybe lack of a toggle option.

Re:Offtopic - please make the sourceforge thing go (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041440)

Been passively looking for something like that for a while.

Here you are [sourceforge.net] . Seriously, if I want to visit Sourceforge, I will go to Sourceforge, not go to /. and then follow a link.

some proteins are better than others (4, Interesting)

nido (102070) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041008)

Vegetarians like to say that they're getting all the protein they need. And by the numbers, beans and grains do have good amounts of protein... But these proteins are locked up for storage, and have Protease inhibitors [wikipedia.org] to interfere with their digestion. Trypsin [wikipedia.org] is what makes Soybeans so inedible...

Potatoes are the best vegan source of protein, because potatoes' defenses are against the microbes that cause rotting, whereas the above-ground portions of the plants have all sorts of defenses against animals.

Gelatin is a good source of protein because of the kinds of amino acids that it has, and does NOT have. The recent news about synthetic human gelatin [slashdot.org] is a bit more important than this form of synthetic meat, methinks.

Re:some proteins are better than others (2, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041144)

Nonsense there are plenty of dietary sources of protein that don't include eating meat. You make it sound like soybeans are the only source. Ultimately the reason why most vegans and vegetarians don't get enough meat isn't that it's impossible it's that they aren't doing their homework to make sure that they're getting the range of proteins necessary to get the complete ones that the body can't synthesize.

I've personally known vegan powerlifters that showed absolutely no signs of protein deficiency.

Re:some proteins are better than others (3, Informative)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041382)

There are many types of vegetarians, those who consume milk, eggs and honey won't have such problems. Also, most vegetarians I know eat fish. And even the hardcore zealots can survive by eating algae [wikipedia.org] . And they won't eat gelatin as it's made of animal bones.

Re:some proteins are better than others (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041436)

They are called pescetarianism, by the way. They don't eat the cute animals, but fishes aren't cute.

bullshit. (4, Informative)

nimbius (983462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041416)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soybean [wikipedia.org]
For human consumption, soybeans must be cooked with "wet" heat to destroy the trypsin inhibitors (serine protease inhibitors). Raw soybeans, including the immature green form, are toxic to humans, swine, chickens, and in fact, all monogastric animals.[12]
gelatin, for its limited range of benefits that can easily be found in plants, is rather controversial too, as its potential to transmit BSE http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelatin#Safety_concerns [wikipedia.org] why not try some hempseed or flax seed instead?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp_seed [wikipedia.org]

Re:some proteins are better than others (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041458)

Soybeans so inedible...

Hempseed [wikipedia.org]

Ethics? (4, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041014)

Just because PETA says something is unethical doesn't mean it is.

There is nothing unethical about eating meat.

There is nothing unethical about eating whale, they are about as smart as pigs.

There is nothing unethical about eating dog or cat. It's just what you are used to.

It is unethical to try to impose your opinions on others. I'm looking at you herbivores.

Re:Ethics? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041100)

Cats and dogs were never part of daily food for the vast majority of human mankind throughout history.

Eating whales WAS not unethical. Contributing NOW to the extinction of a mammal (or animal in general) IS unethical. It's a prime example for unethical behavior.
Their IQ is irrelevant for your own behavior, but I suspect YOUR IQ is pretty low. So...Can I eat you? It shouldn't be unethical as you are as smart as a pig.

Re:Ethics? (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041102)

It is unethical to try to impose your opinions on others. I'm looking at you herbivores.

Most of the vegans that I know make no attempt to impose their lifestyle on anyone else. Maybe your experiance is different. PETA is a fringe group that does not remotely represent the typical vegetarian or vegan. Vegans can be kind of fussy, though. Apparently serving something that is only 95% vegan is considered unacceptable. Who knew?

I personally have no issues with meat. Cows aren't out in the pasture composing poetry. They're little more than machines that turn grass and corn into meat and manure.

Re:Ethics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041164)

NO. Cultured meat is the product of a factory. Cow meat is the product of an inhumane series of tortures inflicted on a helpless animal. When the humaivore aliens land on earth, lets hope they possess more empathy than you possess.

Re:Ethics? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041250)

You're projecting your feelings onto the animal.

Re:Ethics? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041304)

Cow meat is the product of an inhumane series of tortures inflicted on a helpless animal.

My grandparents live next to land used to raise beef. My grandfather even raised beef for a year or 2. They are protected from predators. Besides all the grass they could eat, they are regularly fed corn and other things as well. They pretty much just stand or lay around all day in a pretty good sized-field, many acres in size. They generally will raise a few generations before a herd is brought to market, so they get to live like this for several years. When it's time to be processed, they put them in a truck, again not all that crowded, and take them to a slaughterhouse. Within an hour or 2 of arriving, they have already been killed and processing has begun.

Yep, sure does sound like an inhumane series of tortures right there.

Re:Ethics? (1)

mmcuh (1088773) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041434)

How much of the beef people eat do you think comes from grazing cattle?

Re:Ethics? (4, Informative)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041360)

NO. Cultured meat is the product of a factory. Cow meat is the product of an inhumane series of tortures inflicted on a helpless animal.

Cows have been domesticated to the point that I seriously doubt the species could survive on it's own. If it ever comes to pass that synthetic meat supplants them then I'd guess that they'd quickly become an endangered/extinct species. At that point no one will be intentionally setting aside huge pastures for them to graze in . They would become a large destructive animal that has little to no natural habitat left.

Re:Ethics? (2)

engun (1234934) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041228)

Would that not mean that mentally deficient humans, could also be considered little more than machines and potentially be kept in a pen and eaten?

Re:Ethics? (0)

raind (174356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041138)

Yet you just imposed on us you unethical hipster dufus.

Re:Ethics? (0)

stevelinton (4044) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041168)

That's your opinion, which you are rather close to trying to impose on others.

Other people take the view that it is ethical to encourage, or even compel others
to avoid some unethical behaviours, so they try to do that.

Re:Ethics? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041236)

Just because PETA says something is unethical doesn't mean it is.

True. However, HornWumpus [slashdot.org] is even less of an authority than PETA. I mean, you don't even have the 'loves animals' or 'loves to eat animals' achievements.

There is nothing unethical about eating meat.

Yeah.... evidently you haven't studied the matter very much. I'm just curious as to where you draw the line. Since you're so fond of gross generalizations, I'm going to assume you're a fan of Hannibal Lecter and partake in the consumption of human flesh.

There is nothing unethical about eating whale, they are about as smart as pigs.

This has embedded the unsupported assertions that a) it's ok to eat pigs, and b) that because on tests we've made up, with a minimal understanding of whales, that because whales scored like pigs on the tests they must have the same intelligence (completely ignoring that they live in a completely different environment).

There is nothing unethical about eating dog or cat. It's just what you are used to.

... ?

It is unethical to try to impose your opinions on others. I'm looking at you herbivores.

Right, here's the gross generalization I was referring to. Just because someone doesn't eat meat, doesn't make them a mindless drone of PETA. Unless you figure Leonardo Da Vinci was the founder and Hitler their favourite spokesperson? (Horray I've goodwin'd the thread at 2).

I happen to agree with the moral argument against eating meat, but I still do it. I see it as a personal failing. I don't spend overmuch time worrying about it, but it does darken my thoughts from time to time. Sure it's the natural order, but I don't know any good arguments in support of eating meat.

Regardless, I don't see every vegan as a fundamentalist wacko like most of PETA that's trying to shove an agenda down your throat. Like most people, vegan's and vegetarians live their lives for themselves, not to fuck with others. If their way of life bothers you, that's your problem, not theirs.

Re:Ethics? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041348)

Unless you figure Leonardo Da Vinci was the founder and Hitler their favourite spokesperson? (Horray I've goodwin'd the thread at 2).

Can you really call Hitler vegetarian though? He did technically consume animal products. One of the things his doctor had him on was an extract made from the feces of Bavarian peasants. Partially to help counteract the effects his vegetarian diet was having on him.

Re:Ethics? (2)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041452)

I'm a vegetarian that is very anti-peta; their "ethics" play no part in my decision. Unlike most, though, I was raised on a farm that had beef cattle and have pulled the trigger myself a few times.

What is unethical is refusing to change when there are better options.

Chicken Little (4, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041016)

I for one welcome our Vat-Grown Overlords [technovelgy.com]

Chicken Little, a huge mass of cultured chicken breast, was kept alive by algae skimmed by nearly-slave labor from multistory towers of ponds surrounded by mirrors to focus the sunlight onto the ponds.

Scum-skimming wasn't hard to learn. You got up at dawn. You gulped a breakfast sliced not long ago from Chicken Little and washed it down with Coffiest. You put on your coveralls and took the cargo net up to your tier. In blazing noon from sunrise to sunset you walked your acres of shallow tanks crusted with algae. If you walked slowly, every thirty seconds or so you spotted a patch at maturity, bursting with yummy carbohydrates. You skimmed the patch with your skimmer and slung it down the well, where it would be baled, or processed into glucose to feed Chicken Little, who would be sliced and packed to feed people from Baffinland to Little America.

From The Space Merchants, by Frederik Pohl (w/CM Kornbluth).
Published by St. Martin's Press in 1952

Read the link for the references to the REAL "Chicken Little" experiment that started it all.

Re:Chicken Little (1)

Lord Balto (973273) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041038)

The reality is always worse than the theory. Thanks for the quote. I may have to read that.

The Space Merchants is one hell of a book (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041090)

It is one of the very few science fiction books that predicted the future, right down to context sensitive advertising on flat screens and the takeover of government by capitalism gone berserk. I'm surprised it isn't as well known as 1984, because Orwell got most of it wrong while Pohl and Kornbluth got an awful lot right.

Re:The Space Merchants is one hell of a book (0)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041280)

Probably because 1984 wasn't "too science-fictiony", and was downright boring compared to the grand masters of the SciFi golden age.

So of course 1984, being so boring, was taken as "serious literature", whereas sci-fi was relegated to "oh, that's just the pulps".

It also didn't help that too many people who weren't into sci-fi and obviously didn't understand it kept confusing it with the worst genres of fantasy fiction. Or that some sci-fi was fluff that was just painful to read (like the "space opera cowboy with raygun blaster fights tentacled monster to save his gal" crapola that was serialized in the juveniles* at the time).

*juveniles - magazines put out for younger kids, back in the days when younger kids actually read anything beyond comic books.

Re:Chicken Little (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041456)

Read the link for the references to the REAL "Chicken Little" experiment that started it all.

Then read this link [wikipedia.org] about the problems with the experiment, and then this link [wikipedia.org] which explains how the results of the first experiment are not now believed to be possible.
 
Short version: "Chicken Little" is like cold fusion. It's received a lot of press, but the experiment has not withstood scrutiny by the scientific community. The experiment has never been able to be replicated, and further experiments show that results of the first are essentially impossible.
 
But, as usual, the hype long survives the reality.

Folding (3, Informative)

Relyx (52619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041018)

If you need to stack the sheets 3000 times in order to approach the thickness of meat, you only have to fold them 12 times.

Re:Folding (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041210)

Or just stack in twelve steps. No need to complicate things with folding.

Re:Folding (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041372)

approach the thickness of meat, you only have to fold them 12 times.

Labmeat is MURDER folded 12 ways!

Subject (0)

Lord Balto (973273) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041020)

That's what they used to say about fungus/yeast. Unfortunately, it gives folks like me migrines and I would suspect this frankencrap will have its own health risks, but it will keep the doctors busy, so I'm sure they're cremin' in their jeans about it. Deliver me from this kind of "progress."

Re:Subject (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041244)

Where 'folks like you' means psychosomatic nutbags? I suppose so. Here's the hint, when 99.9999999% of the population doesn't exhibit symptoms under the same circumstances, and the effect is demonstrably not histamine or other allergenic, it's probably in your head.

Eat people! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041024)

The world is over populated. Why waste money on this when there already is an abundant supply of meat?

In-vitro... Organic? (1)

Shazback (1842686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041026)

Cue "organic" and "wholesome" varieties of in-vitro meat that were cultured in "fair trade" nutrient mediums.

Re:In-vitro... Organic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041216)

I wonder where the nutrient liquid comes from.
I am guessing that it is very likely comes from an animal source as the "meat" needs to be growing in a similar environment inside an animal.

Sad, but the biologist's energy is misdirected... (0)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041076)

I my opinion, biologist's energy and intellect are misdirected. Let's get him something else to do. What about focusing on getting the reason and possible cure of one terrible disease like diabetes?

In type 1 diabetes, folks cannot produce enough insulin and in the type 2, they are resistant to its action. This is one disease that will explode this century.

Next, i am gonna send him an email, urging him to direct his energy to what I'd call more [potentially] useful outcomes.

Re:Sad, but the biologist's energy is misdirected. (1)

happylight (600739) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041120)

I, for one, am glad to know that even when global warming has killed all other species in the world we'll still have meat to eat.

Re:Sad, but the biologist's energy is misdirected. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041160)

If it's so important, why aren't you doing it? Oh, your strengths and desires lie in other areas? Well, so do his (obviously). And frankly, if he did as you suggest, and someone beat him to the cure, most likely all his effort would have been a waste. Not all biology is the same, just as not all computer science or software engineering is the same.

Re:Sad, but the biologist's energy is misdirected. (2)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041186)

Have you considered that maybe like say, programming, biology is also a big field with a lot of room for specialization?

Just because somebody can do a good job of writing an operating system doesn't mean they'd be a good game programmer. Same way, I don't see why this guy would necessarily have the right skills to work on diabetes.

Also, on what grounds do you think you can command people to do whatever research you think is important? If it's that big of a deal for you, why aren't you doing the research yourself, or at least funding it?

Re:Sad, but the biologist's energy is misdirected. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041310)

Yes, because we all know that all scientists are equally brilliant doctors and a scientist is a scientists who can work in any field. You don't study microbiologist or human medicine or whatever. No you study the glory field of "Scientist". And suddenly you are a know-it-all. Now you can swiftly switch between inventing a doomsday weapon and inventing a pill to regrow organs. It's the science!

Or is it?

Re:Sad, but the biologist's energy is misdirected. (1)

mr_null (16516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041320)

No, I'd say your energy is misdirected. There already are many researchers dedicated to finding a cure for diabetes. Your energy would be better spent doing something besides hounding someone who's already busy trying to solve a major problem.

http://www.wfp.org/hunger/stats [wfp.org]

Victimless Leather (3, Interesting)

ideonexus (1257332) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041104)

There was an art piece at the MOMA's Design and the Elastic Mind [moma.org] exhibit titled "Victimless Leather" which involved growing a batch of stem cells into the shape of a tiny jacket. The piece eventually had to be "killed" [grinding.be] when it grew out of control... as stem cells tend to do (and why their promise is over-exaggerated because they give you cancer [livescience.com] ).

I appreciate people working on innovations like this, but we are decades and decades away from getting anything practical out of it. The meat we get from mother nature has billions of years of natural selection going into it, making it grow more efficiently. We co-evolved with it, meaning we are selected to make to the most efficient use of its nutrients. It's going to take a lot of time in the lab to match the nutrition and efficiency of muscle meat produced from 3.5 billion years of evolution.

Re:Victimless Leather (4, Interesting)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041284)

The problem with your perspective is it assumes wrongly that this work is being done from scratch, read further out of context it would seem like you're saying that these researchers are creating tissue (and by extension a lifeform) that didn't exist before. This isn't the case. Natural selection isn't being thrown out the window, all that work is simply being isolated, packaged, and controlled. It will probably be adjusted as the work proceeds, but that isn't surprising considering the 'natural' process you vaunt in fact is focused on 'good enough' solutions. Life is a process for gene replication and everything else is gravy. Artificial selection is by definition more intelligent and efficient than natural selection, and unlike natural selection it can have goals in excess of simple gene survival.

Re:Victimless Leather (1)

sempir (1916194) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041342)

I had a burger from our local joint last week.....think it was made from one of the 3.5 million year old originals!

The real queston (5, Funny)

punker (320575) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041108)

How long until he can grow bacon?

You can't just grow the meat (1)

heptapod (243146) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041128)

The meat won't have the right texture or flavor as meat off-the-bone. Part of the flavor comes from the animal using its body, exercising and consuming foods which contribute to the whole meat experience. In-vitro meat is the first step, now they have to figure out how to prepare it before it goes to market.

Re:You can't just grow the meat (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041332)

Ehm... Have you ever seen a modern chicken that is raised for food? They can't walk because they are too heavy. They don't move because, well, being able to move was not a requirement for those chickens so the urge for them to move around was bred out of them. Those chickens spend their time in a small area, eating and growing VERY fast until they are killed. I guess their meat will not differ much from 'chicken' meat out of petri dishes.

Re:You can't just grow the meat (1)

heptapod (243146) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041462)

Because chicken is the only meat known to mankind since everything tastes like it.

Eating your own biolab food (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041142)

(Post) hasn't yet sampled his own creation, but reviews from others are not great.

Please, you first! FAIL

Bizna7ch (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041150)

But is it kosher? (5, Interesting)

blowdart (31458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041172)

Serious question - if you clone pig meat, without the animal ever being grown, it won't have hooves - so is it kosher? What if you clone human meat from a volunteer? Is that cannibalism?

Re:But is it kosher? (1)

Carrot007 (37198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041190)

Serious Answer/Question - Who cares as long as it's tasty.

But more specificly. Yes / No.

Re:But is it kosher? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041318)

Really? You think you can give a pat answer to those questions involving religious doctrine, and the eating of flesh derived from human cells?
 
The folks in Mississippi just (barely) had the good sense to turn down a referendum that fertized human eggs are people with all the constitutional protection that you and I enjoy.
 
Are you acquainted with this planet?
 
Now excuse me, I have to go cover my head and pray to the magic sky daddy, while my wife and daughter do the same, in another room.

No (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041306)

Semen. If a person swallows it, they are NOT going to get A: pregnant or B: arrested (barring some silly rules that are probably just internet legends in some US states).

As for Jews, the idea of it all is to show reference to god, you don't show reference by coming up with loop holes just because you grave a bit of bacon. The laws are constantly interpreted to fit in the modern world but that is just the same as real laws. Example, Jews are allowed to have a pig heart valve installed because the sanctity of life out rules dietary laws. Forcing a Jew to eat a pig or else you will kill him does nothing. It is not how that fate or indeed most fates work.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041448)

Dooood - "you don't show reference (sic) by coming up with loopholes"? The jews? Seriously?
 
I refer you to the Eruv http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eruv. The jewish culture is nothing BUT looking for loopholes.
 
Not that there's anything wrong with that. Anyone can go without sex for a couple of weeks, but no one can live a week without at least three good rationalizations.

Re:But is it kosher? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041336)

Well it doesn't have any blood in it so it's the most kosher thing imaginable.

Re:But is it kosher? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041380)

Genuine kashrut rabbi and lurker from about '98 here, if they culture the cells from a freshly kosher slaughtered kosher animal then it would be forever kosher.
If the animal were not killed first it would be ever min hachai or flesh stripped from a living animal and a rarity for Jewish kosher law considered forbidden to all humans(from the law given to Noah when humans were first permitted meat rathen for the Jews at Mt Sinai).
Since the kosher status is for meat of the animal there might be room for an interpretation that subsequent cells grown form any animal are no longer that creature but simply a vat grown blob removing any kosher concerns and considering it something akin to candy made from all synthetic materials.

Space travel (2)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041240)

Well research in this vein (ha ha) should continue if for no other reason than it would be great to be able to have a big juicy steak on a space ship! Of course one could see all sorts of interesting (bad) things happening due to the combination of zero-g, cosmic rays and endlessly multiplying cells!

Does anyone know if there are any experiments in trying to make fish meat (sushi) along these lines? Pound for pound (or ounce for ounce) perfectly made uniform slabs of high grade fish have got to be the most expensive/valuable bits of non-human protein on the planet. I mean when a single (big) tuna costs several hundred thousand dollars in the Tokyo fish market, you know there could be profit for even an expensive technology.

Finally, (I know this is gross), would eating synthesized human flesh be considered cannibalism? I mean is cannibalism bad because you had to kill someone to eat or is it bad because you are eating meat with similar DNA? (Actually, it's probably the latter because it exposes you to all sorts of diseases that normally wouldn't survive because you'd be eating a different species). And would it taste like chicken?

It's All A Matter Of What You're Used To (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041254)

I'll make some chili out of whatever looks good at the grocery store. You'll occasionally find lamb, pork or beef in there. Yesterday I was also sorely tempted to pick up a gigantic smoked turkey leg for it. I have a feeling I'd find in-vitro meat to be too bland and not suitable for my chili due to the lack of connective tissue. Bones are one of my secret ingredients, you see? But if you were to perfectly preserve a sample of my chili for a couple hundred years, a resident of The Future who was raised entirely on in-vitro meat would likely have several complaints about it. They'd probably wonder what that gamey flavor was from the lamb, and they'd find it to be too tough and fatty. They might be able to simulate things like marbling to appeal more to the older generation, but the cheap Wal-Mart meat that most people will grow up on probably won't have any of that. It'll just be a bland, homogenous brick of protein cells, kind of like spam. Or Adam Sandler.

No doubt for at least a generation or two, precious land mass will be devoted to growing real critters for rich gourmands, but as the population increases I suspect that you'll see less and less of that. An ironic side effect to this is that some species of livestock could go extinct because it's more profitable to sell the farm to real estate developers. Though hopefully by then we could just preserve their gene sequences and whip up some new ones if we ever needs some. I actually hope cloning outpaces development of this stuff so we can go through a phase of cloning extinct or endangered animals for food. Then I could put brontosaur, zebra and dodo in my chili!

better off ted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041270)

it tastes like dispare

obligatory better off Ted quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041278)

Jerome [tasting meat made in lab]: It tastes familiar.
Ted: Beef?
Jerome: No.
Linda: Chicken? We'll take chicken.
Ted: What does it taste like?
Jerome: Despair.
Ted: Is it possible it just needs salt?

It's already been done! (1)

Kn1nJa (878764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041282)

The guys at veridian dynamics already did this a LONG time ago!

What to call it? (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041286)

Lem: "Don't name it or you won't want to eat it. Remember Chester the carrot?" (Better Off Ted)

Zombie meat! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041288)

The GGO-fearing scaremongers created the inventive name "Frankenfood". Now let the zombiemongering begin!

http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/ahrc/script-ed/vol7-2/stephens.asp

A new take on Quorn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041312)

I don't see how this is any different to those vegetarian mycoproteins and meat substitutes, like Quorn. They're just vats of organic material derived from something that occurs in nature. The fact that, in this case, the original source happened to be an animal means little.

Efficiency (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041316)

Let's put aside the ethics bullshit and concentrate on the efficiency claims. The problem is, just because people eat less meat it's not guaranteed that the food excess will get to places with famine. Also, this method is still less effective than grains or vegetables, so transporting it to poor regions won't help. I'm not even sure that the problem is a lack of food, in most places with famine it's the fault of the political leadership.
I am also sceptical about the sustainability claims which seem to be backed only by an old study from '99. Such a massive increase in consumption would mean 10 billion people by 2030, or a huge shift in people's diet.

Awesome for the environment (1)

KerrickStaley (2423808) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041356)

Meat is too environmentally inefficient. The human race cannot carry on its current levels of meat consumption for much longer, and it's good to see researchers pushing towards another alternative for meat eaters. Personally, I don't mind soy burgers (they're really pretty good; very healthy too), but I understand where people who prefer actual meat are coming from.

Support cellular rights! (3, Funny)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041394)

Why, this destroys cells. The very basis of all life! It must be stopped!

You're such a villian that you even do it to your own cells!

How many cells did you callously murder last night when you took a drink of alcohol? Or even accidently bite the inside of your cheek.

And what about the flesh in between your fingers in the womb that you thoughtlessly put to cell death so you could selfishly have fingers. Or the skin cells you made thirst to death as formerly living shields against the outside world?

Your whole existance is dedicated to torturing and murdering cellular life!

This could be the start of whole industries of advocacy groups.

Chicken Little... (1)

rgbatduke (1231380) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041412)

... from The Space Merchants by Pohn and Kornbluth, or would that really be a thinly disguised attempt to rename SoyLent Green...

rgb

Re:Chicken Little... (1)

rgbatduke (1231380) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041420)

Uh, that would be "Pohl". Sorry.

not buying it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041454)

'use 35 to 60 percent less energy, emit 80 to 95 percent less greenhouse gas and use around 98 percent less land.' ...and is 100 percent less tasty. thanks, i'll keep eating the real animals.

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