2030年实验室养殖火鸡将上圣诞餐桌Christmas turkey will be grown in a lab by 2030, say scientists
In 1931, Winston Churchill predicted that within 50 years the world would "escape the absurdity" of raising a whole chicken on farm and instead grow parts in lab.
Now scientists are predicting that his vision will come to pass within the next 15 years, with the first lab-grown turkey gracing Christmas tables by 2030.
Paul Mozdziak, professor of poultry science at North Carolina State University, is confident that in the future meat will be grown in 5,000 gallon drums and factory farming will be replaced by large scale "cellular agriculture".
“Years from now, when people are in the grocery story trying to decide if they want to buy traditional versus cultivated meat, I am 100 percent sure that culture meat is going to be just as cheap, if not cheaper,” Prof Mozdziak told MIT Technology Review.
Although the idea of biotech companies growing meat in a lab might seem ethically dubious, it has won the backing of environmentalists and animal rights campaigners who say it would reduce the reliance on battery animals and save resources.
Livestock farming has the biggest carbon footprint of any food and producing beef in vitro could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent.
Surveys have also shown that vegetarians would eat meat if it were grown in a lab, so it could open a lucrative new market for investors.
The process works by taking a small piece of turkey breast and isolating special stem cells which form muscle fibre. Those cells are then placed in a soup of sugar and amino acids which tricks them into thinking they are still inside the turkey and need to continue dividing.
A single satellite cell can undergo 75 generations of division during three months, which in theory could produce enough muscle to make 20 trillion turkey nuggets.
At present, culture meat is not economically viable. When the first hamburger was created in 2013, it took three months to grow at a cost of £220,000.
And creating a turkey-size amount of meat in Professor Mozdziak's lab would currently take more than £20,000 worth of growth serum.
However, the team is now working alongside biomedical engineer David Kaplan at Tufts University, Massachusetts, who is looking for a way to grow cells in 3D, not just flat sheets, which would radically speed up the process and lower the cost.
The team predicts that the first meat could be available on shelves by 2030.