Advances in genome editing and stem cell experimentation have prompted enthusiasts to launch a number of start-ups aimed at creating exotic meats. We are not talking about substitutes, as is the case with the growing popularity of the brand "Beyond Meat". Scientists want to modernize the genome of cells and literally grow as much flesh as gourmets want to buy and eat.
Today humanity consumes three main types of meat: beef, pork, chicken. To eat exotic foods like guinea pigs or whales, you need to travel to the other side of the world. Lovers of new sensations may have serious problems if they want to taste the animals from the Red Book. And trying a Steller's cow, mammoth or tyrannosaurus will not work at all - they no longer exist in nature.
Founder of VOW Food in the company's laboratory
And here science comes to the aid of gourmets. It makes little sense to reproduce the same beef or fried crickets in the laboratory - it is expensive, and most likely the taste will differ from the usual one. But none of the living people has tried a dinosaur, so interest and demand is guaranteed, even if the result is imperfect and the DNA of the meat will only coincide by 70-80% with the DNA of the ancestral animals. It's even easier with elephants or giraffes - technologists can take samples right now and start synthesizing meat on an almost industrial scale. This is exactly the goal set by the startup VOW Foods.
One of the beneficial side effects of this gastronomic odyssey will be the creation of an extensive library of cells from different animals to reproduce their meat in the future. In some ways, this is similar to a seed fund, with the difference that it will not work to raise a whole animal, only a clipping from it. But even such information will be useful for science and for future generations.