Australian Company Unveils Lab-Grown Meatball Made From Woolly Mammoth

A producer of lab-grown meat unveiled an ancient appetizer that’s perfect for your Paleo diet.

An Australian synthetic meat producer called Vow unveiled a meatball made from the genetic material of the woolly mammoth on Tuesday. The meatball was created using proteins synthesized from the mammoth genome, and is part of the company’s mission to fight climate change using lab-grown meat. The company will unveil the creation at the NEMO science museum in Amsterdam Tuesday evening.

The mammoth meatball was created with the help of Ernst Wolvetang, a researcher at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering at the University of Queensland. Wolvetang synthesized mammoth muscle tissue using a DNA sequence for myoglobin, the protein responsible for the pigment and flavor of red meat. He then filled in a few gaps in the genetic material using DNA from the African elephant, a close relative of mammoths. The DNA was then implanted in myoblasts — the precursors to muscle cells— from a sheep. It was then replicated into about 20 billion cells, enough to produce 400 grams of mammoth meat.

“It was ridiculously easy and fast,” Wolvetang told The Guardian. “We did this in a couple of weeks.” Wolvetang added that the original goal of the project was to create a chicken nugget out of meat from the Dodo bird, but the necessary DNA sequences do not exist.

But nobody has tasted the mammoth meatball, and it’s very likely that nobody will. “We haven’t seen this protein for thousands of years,” Wolvetang said. “So we have no idea how our immune system would react when we eat it. But if we did it again, we could certainly do it in a way that would make it more palatable to regulatory bodies.” (Read more from “Australian Company Unveils Lab-Grown Meatball Made From Woolly Mammoth” HERE)

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