This week, animal rights group PETA announced the group would offer a million-dollar prize for the development of commercially-viable 'test-tube meat' -- real meat grown through a lab process, not from a live animal. The prize money would be awarded to the contest participant able to make the first in vitro chicken meat and sell it to the public by June 30, 2012. To win, the lab-grown meat must also have a taste and texture indistinguishable from real chicken flesh, be produced in large enough quantities to be sold commercially, and successfully sold at a competitive price in at least 10 states.
The process would likely invove some of the same techniques used now by medical researchers to grow tissue for medical procedures -- but would also need special conditions to produce tastes and textures similar to those fo natural meat. Earlier this month, researchers met in Norway for the 'First International In Vitro Meat Symposium.' Can a prize for the development of artificial meat spur research innovation in the same way that prizes have sparked competition in human space flight and robotic vehicles research? In this segment, we'll talk about the possibility, and how close science is to being able to grow a lab-made steak for your weekend cookout.
Produced by Karin Vergoth