There are way too many scientists out there who haven’t taken movies like Jurassic Park to heart – meaning that they think raising long-extinct animals from the dead is a good idea.
Not only does making meatballs out of mammoth flesh sound like a bad idea, be warned: it also sounds pretty gross.
It comes from an Australian cultivated meat company called Vow, who says they want to raise awareness of lab-grown meat. They say it tastes good and is a cruelty-free alternative to conventional meat sources, too.
Their Chief Scientific Officer, James Ryall, spoke to CNN.
“We need to start re-thinking how we get our food. My biggest hope for this project is…that a lot more people across the world begin to hear about cultured meat.”
To create this unholy meatball, Vow says they took the mammoth DNA sequence for myoglobin, a skeletal muscle protein found in mammals, then used elephant DNA to fill in the gaps.
Then they inserted the mammoth myoglobin sequence into sheep stem cells, let it grow, and waited for the “mammoth” meat to appear.
Though Ernst Wolvetang, senior group leader at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, told CNN he thinks calling it “mammoth meat” is a bit of an overstatement.
“From a genomic point of view, it’s only one gene amongst all the other sheep genes that is mammoth. It’s one gene out of 25,000.”
And honestly, Vow scientists aren’t sure anyone should actually eat it.
“I’ve got no idea what the potential allergenicity might be of this particular protein. It’s not going to go up for sale, because we’ve got no idea about the safety profile of this particular product.”
At least one person says they would definitely give it a go – and that’s Dalén, a professor of evolutionary genomics at Stockholm University.
I mean, he’s done it before, when he ate a piece of frozen baby mammoth while on expedition in Siberia.
“Without a doubt I would love to try this!”
There are places in the world where lab-grown meat has been approved for human consumption, so I’m going to bet it won’t be long before someone gives it a go.