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NOVA ScienceNOW

Lab Meat?

  • Posted 01.10.06
  • NOVA scienceNOW

Some people avoid meat because it involves killing animals. Other people love meat; they can't get enough. Here is a development that might make both sides happy: lab-made meat. In this NOVA scienceNOW video, reporter Win Rosenfeld shares this juicy story.

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Launch Video Running Time: 02:00

Transcript

LAB MEAT?

PBS Airdate: January 10, 2006

ROBERT KRULWICH: Ummm, meat—this is a story about meat. Some people avoid meat because it involves killing animals. Other people love meat. They can't get enough. Here is a development that might make both sides happy. Reporter Win Rosenfeld has the story.

DANIEL NEWMARK: I like meat. I eat it all the time.

JAY GONZALES: Pork chops, steaks...

MAYE MUSK: I love hamburger.

WIN ROSENFELD (Correspondent): You might not have thought about it, but that hamburger that he's about to put in his mouth, it's inefficient to produce.

BOB LILIENFELD (Author): ...because of all the water, grains, chemicals, fertilizers, everything it took to turn grass into cows and cows into meat, and get the meat to your house.

WIN ROSENFELD: That's a lot of energy and a lot of waste. And meat can make us sick, and we do have to kill billions of animals. Jason Matheny of the University of Maryland says he's got the answer.

JASON MATHENY (University of Maryland): What we're doing here is cloning, effectively, the muscle cells from the farm animal.

WIN ROSENFELD: Cloning meat?

JASON MATHENY: That's right.

WIN ROSENFELD: Who's going to eat that?

HARRY BIXLER: As long as it wasn't poisonous, I'd give it a try.

CATHERINE CARABALLO: If I can't tell the difference, of course I'd eat it.

MONIQUE CHANG: As long as it tastes the same.

JASON MATHENY: If you start out a chicken cell, it should taste like chicken.

WIN ROSENFELD: Then again, doesn't everything. How about texture?

JASON MATHENY: Farm animals produce meat of a certain texture because they move around. We have to mimic those conditions in vitro.

WIN ROSENFELD: In vitro meaning?

JASON MATHENY: Literally, stretch the cells mechanically.

WIN ROSENFELD: Exercise cells in a lab? Okay, so the only question left is...

CATHERINE CARABALLO: You got a piece?

WIN ROSENFELD: Here it is: cultured meat.

CROWD: Bon appetit, bon appetit.

WIN ROSENFELD: Now, this piece was made by scientists at the University of Western Australia. NASA's been interested, and the Dutch government has invested $5,000,000 dollars in cultured meat. Right now, you have to clone a cell, stretch it on a scaffold, and feed it an expensive, nutritious soup. This makes each little bit very costly. What if I wanted a little more?

JASON MATHENY: If you wanted to pay a million dollars, right now, we could get you a kilogram of beef.

WIN ROSENFELD: No thanks, I'll stick with this, for now.

Credits

Lab Meat?

Executive Producer
Samuel Fine
Executive Editor
Robert Krulwich
Senior Series Producer
Vincent Liota
Senior Producer
Robe Imbriano
Producers
Julia Cort
Carla Denly
Robe Imbriano
Dean Irwin
Vincent Liota
Mary Robertson
Win Rosenfeld
Editors
Ben Ehrlich
Nathan Hendrie
Robe Imbriano
Vincent Liota
Win Rosenfeld
Supervising Producer
Andrea Cross
Development Producer
Kyla Dunn
Program Editor
Steve Trevisan
Associate Producers
Anthony Manupelli
Mary Robertson
Win Rosenfeld
Ayo Babatunde
Shimona Shahi
Unit Manager
Candace White
Production Secretary
Ayo Babatunde
Compositing
Yunsik Noh
Production Assistant
Robbie Gemmel
Music
Rob Morsberger
NOVA scienceNOW Series Animation
Edgeworx
Camera
Chris Borghesani
George Delgado
Brian Dowley
Tom Fahey
Vikram Gandhi
Robert Hanna
Michael Hunkley
Sound Recordists
Paul Austin
Vikram Gandhi
Mike Karas
Dennis McCarthy
Gilles Morin
Alex Sullivan
Audio Mix
John Jenkins
Animation
Mitch Butler
Edgeworx
Picket Design
Pie Design
Special Thanks
Clifford Cunningham
Foxwoods Resort Casino
The Graduate Center at CUNY
Alex Meissner
Naturally Tasty Health Food
The New York Number Theory Seminar
The officers and crew of the NOAA ships Delaware II and Albatross IV
János Pintz
Salon Mario Russo
Cem Yildirim
Adam Zoghlin
Archival Material
ABC News Video Source
Art. Lebedev Studio
Mike Brown, Caltech
Michael Brumlik
Jewel Webb Chambers
CNN
CORBIS Motion
Michael DiGiorgio, Worldwide Nature Artists Group
Denis Finnin, American Museum of Natural History
Richard Gibbe
Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
Robert Hurt (IPAC)
Jupiterimages Corporation
The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
MODIS Rapid Response Project at NASA/GSF
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
NASA/JPL
NASA/JPL-Caltech
Jay Pitocchelli
Prairie Pictures / StormStock, Martin Lisius
24 Images
N. John Schmitt
Ultimate Chase Stock Video
Mitch Waite
WWL-TV
NOVA Series Graphics
yU + co.
NOVA Theme Music
Walter Werzowa
John Luker
Musikvergnuegen, Inc.
Additional NOVA Theme Music
Ray Loring
Post Production Online Editor
Spencer Gentry
Closed Captioning
The Caption Center
NOVA Administrator
Dara Bourne
Publicity
Eileen Campion
Olivia Wong
Senior Researcher
Barbara Moran
Production Coordinator
Linda Callahan
Unit Managers
Lola Norman-Salako
Carla Raimer
Paralegal
Richard Parr
Legal Counsel
Susan Rosen Shishko
Post Production Assistant
Alex Kreuter
Associate Producer, Post Production
Patrick Carey
Post Production Supervisor
Regina O'Toole
Post Production Editor
Rebecca Nieto
Post Production Manager
Nathan Gunner
Supervising Producer
Stephen Sweigart
Producer, Special Projects
Susanne Simpson
Coordinating Producer
Laurie Cahalane
Senior Science Editor
Evan Hadingham
Senior Series Producer
Melanie Wallace
Managing Director
Alan Ritsko
Senior Executive Producer
Paula S. Apsell

NOVA scienceNOW is a trademark of the WGBH Educational Foundation

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0229297. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

© 2006 WGBH Educational Foundation

All rights reserved

Image credit: (cheeseburger) © James Noble/CORBIS

Participants

Robert Lilienfeld
President, The Cygnus Group
Jason Matheny
Researcher at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University

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