TEL AVIV/FRANKFURT – Two years after scientists cooked up the first test tube beef hamburger, researchers in Israel are working on an even trickier recipe: the world’s first lab-grown chicken.
Professor Amit Gefen, a bioengineer at Tel Aviv University, has begun a year-long feasibility study into manufacturing chicken in a lab, funded by a non-profit group called the Modern Agriculture Foundation which hopes “cultured meat“ will one day replace the raising of animals for slaughter.
The foundation’s co-founder Shir Friedman hopes to have produced “a recipe for how to culture chicken cells” by the end of the year.
The researchers say their task is more difficult than producing the first lab-grown hamburger, a $300,000 beef patty cooked up at Maastricht University in the Netherlands after five years of research financed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
Rather than gathering small fibers of cow muscle into one big chunk of meat, Gefen will try to make a whole piece of chicken, starting from a single cell.
Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals offered a $1 million prize to the first lab able to use chicken cells to create commercially viable test tube meat, but the 2014 deadline passed without anyone laying claim.
Gefen, an expert in tissue engineering, said the plan is to culture chicken cells and let them divide and multiply. In previous research he used growth factors extracted from tumors to stimulate cells, but this is not appropriate for food.
Demand for meat is expected to double between 2000 and 2050, when the earth’s population is set to surpass 9 billion, and proponents of growing meat in the lab say it is the only way to meet such demand without destroying the environment.
According to a study by Oxford University and the University of Amsterdam, cultured meat would produce 96 percent less greenhouse gas, consume 82 to 96 percent less water and virtually eliminate land requirements needed to raise livestock.
“In the not so distant future we will look back at how we used to raise cows and chickens and put so much effort into getting a small piece of meat,” Friedman said.
Some big name investors are entering the field. Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang and Asia’s wealthiest man Li Ka-shing have invested in Hampton Creek, which is creating plant-based substitutes for eggs. Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Twitter founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone have backed a company called Beyond Meat. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has backed Modern Meadow, which creates food from tissue engineering.
Growing chicken in a lab would be a big step. It accounts for nearly a third of the world’s total meat, second behind pork, which it is expected to overtake sometime in the next decade, according to an OECD report.
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“Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed”- Luke 17:28-30 (KJV).
”..Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so-called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith…”-1 Timothy 6:20-21 (KJV).
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not- 2 Peter 2:2-3 (KJV).
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage – 2 Peter 2:19 (KJV).
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” Luke 17:26 (KJV)
And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay -Daniel 2:43 (KJV).