It’s a scary thought, but science is on the verge of creating the world’s first test tube hamburger, using meat grown in a lab rather than the back of a cow. Who wants one?

Researchers have generated strips of meat in a petri dish by using cow stem cells and a serum taken from a calf foetus, which they will combine with strips of fatty tissue created using the same process to create the world’s first test tube hamburger later this year. The end result is expected to cost around £220,000 ($323,000), making it one of the most expensive burgers you could possibly consider spending money on.

The idea behind a test tube hamburger is that it has the potential to make meat production much more environmentally friendly – reducing the impact of farming and the subsequent slaughtering of animals a much simpler proposition. According to Prof Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, each animal involved in the process would be able to produce a million times more meat than you would get from traditional farming methods.

And as for that first hamburger – Professor Post plans on asking Heston Blumenthal to cook it, while the anonymous financial backer of the project will decide who gets to eat it when it’s ready in October. Although if you’re holding out for the first lab-grown steak, you may be waiting a bit longer, as apparently researchers would need to create an artificial blood supply in order to grow the meat to a reasonable size.

This could all be mainstream within a decade with the right government investment and regulatory approval. Kind of makes McDonalds even less appealing, doesn’t it?

Via: The Telegraph
Image: Wikimedia Commons; Prof Mark Post, Maastricht University