Scientists Create Lab-Grown Meatball from DNA of Extinct Woolly Mammoth to Spark Debate About ‘Climate Change Crisis’

Last week, an Australian company has successfully created a giant meatball using genetic information taken from an extinct wooly mammoth from about 10,000 years ago, claiming that the ancient protein paved the way for modern cuisine.

A Sydney-based company, Vow Food, a meat production company specializing in producing meat from animal cells, has unveiled a mammoth meatball in an effort to raise awareness regarding animal agriculture and the ways in which it contributes to the current “climate change crisis.”

The company’s groundbreaking project, revealed at the Nemo Science Museum in the Netherlands, aims to show how cell-based meat can fight environmental destruction by using the extinct woolly mammoth as a symbol for the loss of animal diversity on Earth, Business News Australia reported.

“We created a meatball made of mammoth cells and gifted it to the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave in the Netherlands,” according to the company.

“The mammoth is a gigantic symbol of loss. We hope our meatball will resurrect conversations about meat and climate change,” it continued.

It was introduced to the public just days before April 1, known as April Fools’ Day.

“This is not an April Fools’ joke,” said Tim Noakesmith, founder of the Australian company Vow. “This is a real innovation.”

Business News Australia reported:

Cultivated meat, also known as cultured or cell-based meat, is made from animal cells and does not require killing livestock to be produced.

To create the meatball, Vow Food filled in the gaps of a mammoth myoglobin DNA sequence using information from the genome of an African elephant – the extinct animal’s closest living relative. The scientists inserted the synthesised gene into a sheep muscle cell, which was grown in a lab.

Founded in 2019, Vow Food began producing lab-grown meat from pork and kangaroo cells, and has since expanded the menu to include rabbit, mice, goat, water buffalo and alpaca. Four months ago, the company raised $73.4 million in a Series A led by Blackbird and Prosperity7 Ventures.

“Vow’s mission is to feed billions of humans. We want to change everyone’s conception of what meat is and what it can be,” Vow co-founder Tim Noakesmith said in a video unveiling the project.

“Cultured meat significantly reduces the climate impact that’s normally associated with regular meat production.”

“The technology is moving faster than regulatory pathways can keep up [with]. The world needs cultured meat right now.”

Singapore was the first country to approve the commercial sale of cultivated meat in the form of chicken nuggets and chicken breast produced by California-based GOOD Meat – a subsidiary of Eat Just.

Vow Food is looking to join the party this year by serving cultured Japanese quail in the city-state via a concept restaurant called Morsel.

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By Jim Hoft

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