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You've heard about solar panels, wind turbines and hybrid cars as ways to deal with global warming. What about test-tube meat?
A scientist in South Carolina says that it's possible to produce the equivalent of ground chuck in a lab -- that is, sans the cow. Dr. Vladimir Mironov at the Medical University of South Carolina has taken embryonic cells from animals and grown what he calls cultured or "in-vitro" meat. The news of this advancement broke last year, but now Mironov is trying to get funding to bring his project to the people.
The technology, he tells Reuters, not only could significantly address world hunger, it could reduce the amount of carbon and other gases that cause global warming. (A study published in 2009 claimed that more than half of all greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the production of meat.)
But if you didn't hear President Obama championing such Frankenstein frankfurters in his State of the Union address, don't be surprised. The government seems a little queasy about funding further research into the ultimate mystery meat.
"Bringing any new technology on the market, average, costs $1 billion," Mironov tells Reuters. "We don't even have $1 million."
Both the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture have declined to fund Mironov's research. He did find a taker in PETA, the animal-rights organization.
One of Mironov's colleagues, Nicholas Genovese, doesn't understand why people seem to turn their noses up at lab-grown meat.
"There's a yuck factor," he acknowledges. "But there are a lot of products that we eat today that are considered natural that are produced in a similar manner. There's yogurt, which is cultured yeast."
Great, now all we can think of is bologna-flavored Yoplait. Yuck, indeed.