Lab-Grown Meat is Coming to Your Fridge This Year
When our ancestors first started to eat meat two million years ago, they didn’t do it out of pleasure. Earth was too hot for vegetation to grow, leaving survivors with only one option: the rotten animal bodies they found lying across the savanna. It was ugly but necessary.
Then came fire, agriculture, and the industrial revolution, and our stinky savior turned into a silent killer. The more meat we produce, the more CO2 (and other nasty gases) we pump into the atmosphere, not to mention cardiovascular disease, antibiotic resistance and animal cruelty.
It’s no wonder reverting to a fully vegan diet became popular. On the surface, it sounds like a great solution, but if you dig deep enough, you’ll find three significant flaws.
- Our bodies evolved to demand nutrients that aren’t available in plants, and supplements can’t bridge the entire gap.
- Agriculture is a big source of greenhouse gases and deforestation.
- You can’t convince everyone.
These drawbacks have forced humanity to explore alternatives. One of them is cultivated meat, and it’s about to make its way into your fridge.
Wait, how do you even cultivate meat?
Instead of slaughtering an animal for steak, nuggets, or foie gras, the idea is to grow some inside a machine. The tech is called Cellular Agriculture, and its main ingredient is stem cells.
Why stem cells? They can transform into any type of cell. Picture Mystique from X-men: the shapeshifter who can perfectly mimic the appearance and voice of any person. Stem cells are the Mystiques of cellular biology, except for one difference. Once a stem cell transforms, it can’t revert to its original form. Instead, it becomes the new cell.
Stem cells are the raw material of manufactured meat, and different samples give you different products. For steak, you need cow cells; for nuggets, chicken cells, and so forth. To extract stem cells…