The scientist behind this historic event is Dr Mark Post, of the University of Maastricht, in the Netherlands. The idea is simple: take some muscle tissue from a single cow and grow it in a nutrient solution. It will multiply and eventually we will have something that really is meat, cell for cell. In practice, however, there are many obstacles to overcome. We aren't even close to growing chicken breasts, or a steak. The first objective is to produce a hamburger, and this week's tasting is intended to demonstrate that it can be done. The hamburger will consist of real bovine muscle tissue, but it was never part of a cow that suffered, or belched methane as it digested its food.
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Eighty years ago, Winston Churchill looked forward to the day when "we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium". Churchill thought this would take only 50 years. We are still not there, but today we will reach a milestone on the road to the future that Churchill envisaged: the first public tasting of in vitro meat.
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