Other researchers are studying different kinds of stem cells that, unlike myosatellite cells, can reproduce indefinitely, ensuring a “livestock-autonomous” supply of cells to make cultured meat. Dutch researchers at Utrecht University are trying to isolate embryonic stem cells from pigs and cows. And Nicholas Genovese of the University of Missouri is trying to develop a type of stem cell that is “induced” from a regular adult cell. So a skin cell from a pig, perhaps, could be turned into a stem cell that could reproduce indefinitely and differentiate into muscle tissue to create cultured pork.
But Dr. Post said that efforts to use different kinds of stem cells introduced other problems. And even if his approach means the world will still need cattle, it will need far fewer of them. “If we can reduce the global herd a millionfold, then I’m happy,” he said. “I don’t need to reduce it a billionfold.”
“That’s not the point of the proof of concept,” Dr. Post said. “The point is, we already have sufficient technology to make a product that we could call meat or cultured beef, and we can eat it and we survive.”
“I’m not by nature a very passionate guy,” he added. “But I feel strongly that this could have a major impact on society in general. And that’s a big motivator.”
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