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Scientists Concoct A Massive Meatball … Using Wooly Mammoth DNA

Scientists Concoct A Massive Meatball … Using Wooly Mammoth DNA

Move over Beyond Meat, there’s a new player in town.

Vow, an Australian cultured meat company, is making waves with its latest creation: a meatball made from the DNA of an extinct woolly mammoth. The giant meatball was unveiled at Nemo, a science museum in the Netherlands, to inspire people to rethink the future of food.

“We wanted to create something that was totally different from anything you can get now,” said Vow founder Tim Noakesmith. “We also wanted to show that cultured meat can be a more sustainable alternative to real meat.”

The meatball was made of sheep cells injected with a single wooly mammoth gene called myoglobin, which is responsible for the aroma, color and taste of meat. But since Vow’s mammoth DNA sequence had a few gaps, African elephant DNA was used to complete it.

The biggest difference between this and Jurassic Park, according to Vow’s chief scientific officer, James Ryall, is that they were not creating actual animals. The mammoth meatball is also a more ethical option, as Vow used an alternative to the traditional method of creating cultured meat, which usually involves using blood from a dead calf.

However, before you go looking for this at your local grocery store, just know the mammoth meatball is not currently available for consumers. Vow hopes to one day put cultured meat on a menu, but for now, the European Union does not regulate extinct meat. But the company believes sustainable meat could be the solution to the environmental and ethical concerns surrounding traditional meat production.

“Its protein is literally 4,000 years old,” Noakesmith said. “We haven’t seen it in a very long time. That means we want to put it through rigorous tests, something that we would do with any product we bring to the market.”

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