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Lab-Grown Meat Coming to a Table Near You

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Vladimir Mironov, M.D., Ph.D., of the Medical University of South Carolina, has devoted the past decade to bioengineering meat.

Reuters reports that not everyone is excited about cultured meat as Mironov. The new National Institute of Food and Agriculture, part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, won't fund it, the National Institutes of Health won't fund it, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration funded it only briefly, Mironov says.

"There's a yuck factor when people find out meat is grown in a lab. They don't like to associate technology with food," said Nicholas Genovese, 32, a visiting scholar in cancer cell biology working under a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals three-year grant to run Dr. Mironov's meat-growing lab. "But there are a lot of products that we eat today that are considered natural that are produced in a similar manner," Genovese said.

Here's a look at Mironov's "shmeat," or, "sheet meat":

Mironov prefers the word "carnery" to the term "lab" when referring to where shmeat will be produced.

"It will be functional, natural, designed food," Mironov says. "How do you want it to taste? You want a little bit of fat, you want pork, you want lamb? We design exactly what you want. We can design texture. I believe we can do it without genes. But there is no evidence that if you add genes the quality of food will somehow suffer. Genetically modified food is already normal practice and nobody dies."

PETA's Genovese makes a progressive argument for the future manufacture of edible proteins.

"We have to look to these ideas in order to progress," he says. "Otherwise, we stay static. I mean, 15 years ago who could have imagined the iPhone?"
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