Why so green and lonely? Everything's going to be alright, just you wait and see.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

We're Made Out of Meat

Slate has an article on growing meat in labs that talks about humans' bizarre ability to empathise with animals some times and slaughter them for meat other times, almost arbitrarily. I think about that a lot since in my head I still can't rationalise it, at least not completely ... so, I don't bother trying too hard. Steaks are tasty.
My daughter has been demanding meat ever since she tasted it in baby food. I've seen vegetarian friends lust at the thought of a burger. We're carnivores. We evolved that way. [...] Maybe what we're asking for, what God is giving us, is the wisdom to see that we can't change our craving for meat, but we can change the way we satisfy it.

How? By growing meat in labs, the way we grow tissue from stem cells. That's the great thing about cells: They're programmed to multiply. You just have to figure out what chemical and structural environment they need to do their thing. Researchers in Holland and the United States are working on the problem. They've grown and sautéed fish that smelled like dinner, though FDA rules didn't allow them to taste it. Now they're working on pork. The short-term goal is sausage, ground beef, and chicken nuggets. Steaks will be more difficult.
Update: If you're into information, check out Wikipedia's in-vitro meat article. If you're into opinions, check out Slashdot's artificial meat post.


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