The Australian cultured meat business Vow produced a massive meatball that was exhibited on Tuesday at the Nemo scientific museum in the Netherlands. It was formed from flesh that was grown using the Genes of an extinct woolly mammoth.
“Fry: Well my buddies, get ready for the most delicious extinct animal you’ve ever tasted.
Amy Wong: I’ve had cow, so I’m not sure.
- The Futurama episode S1.E6, “A Fishful of Money”
What an incredible moment to be alive.
Recently, some Chinese scientists created mice with antlers, demonstrating the might of science in all of its horrifying splendour (the image we used is illustrative, browse for the real McCoy at your own peril).
This week, a firm called Vow from Australia decided to bring back the woolly mammoth. Vow specialises in cultured meat, or meat that is developed in a lab. so to speak.
As a strategy to promote cultured meat as a more sustainable substitute for actual meat, they assure us that it is not an April Fool’s joke.
James Ryall, Chief Scientific Officer at Vow, remarked, “We introduced the gene from the mammoth into these sheep cells and then over-expressed that gene very, extremely substantially. In other words, “all that means is that we could detect the amount of traditional sheep myoglobin inside the cells and we could detect over 100 times more mammoth myoglobin in those cells themselves, so quite a significant portion of what you can see here in front of you today comes from mammoth.” Myoglobin is a protein found primarily in muscles.
African elephant DNA was added to fill up the gaps in the mammoth DNA sequence acquired by Vow.
Given that it was prepared by Crocodile Dundee’s, the meatball’s fragrance of crocodile meat is very acceptable
Unfortunately, it is not yet fit for ingestion.
Vow’s creator, Tim Noakesmith, declared, “We won’t eat the enormous meatball right now.”
And while that doesn’t mean you can’t eat it, Noakesmith said, “We would want to put it through seriously rigorous testing like we do with any product that we want to bring to market and for this purpose we wanted to present it to the world faster and not necessarily bring it to market because this protein is literally 4000 years old, we haven’t seen it for a very, very long time.”
What’s more essential is WHY?
Two factors led us to choose a gargantuan meatball. The first reason is that we wanted to start a conversation, according to Noakesmith, who gave his justification for the culinary experiment. “We wanted to draw attention to something distinct from the beef we already eat.”
“Because new technology implies that the food we can eat doesn’t have to be a carbon copy of what we’ve previously consumed. It may be more thrilling, have greater flavour and nutritional characteristics, he added.
The mammoth has historically been a sign of loss, which is the second reason, according to Noakesmith.
Modern research suggests that climate change was the cause of the mammoth’s extinction, as the inventor of Vow explains.
The mammoths belonged in the Ice Age, notwithstanding whatever environmental pressure that human hunters may have exerted on the species. While mammoths faced the difficulty of climate change, modern humans do not have the luxury of anticipating the annoying glaciers in the north melting away as they did for the mammoths. People are realising that the world is becoming a little too warm for us to be comfortable.
Since we can eat our way out of extinction, Noakesmith’s business “intended to attract attention to an alternative future, something more thrilling.”
In the European Union, where such meat as food is not yet regulated, Vow seeks to popularise cultured meat.
The theoretically 4,000-year-old meatball is currently on exhibit at Nemo, a scientific museum in the Netherlands.
Just keep in mind, stare but don’t touch. Also, avoid putting it in your mouth at all costs.
Why not conclude with the same quotation that we began with?
According to Jack from Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Ernest,” science is always advancing things.