Hoping to answer a growing demand for meat while avoiding the slaughter of an estimated nine billion animals a year, bioengineers at Tel Aviv University say they are on their way to producing the world’s first lab-grown chicken breast. Earlier this year, lead researcher Amit Gefen was granted $25,000 from Israeli non-profit Modern Agriculture Foundation to help launch his tissue-engineering work. The process involves taking a single muscle cell from a living chicken and dividing it into millions of cells to form muscle fibers that, according to the Modern Agriculture Foundation, is “identical in every way to the type of meat consumed today.” Gefen’s work not only has the potential to seriously disrupt animal agriculture but also help ease the increasing pressure put on the environment. According to a 2011 University of Oxford study, cultured meat production “might be produced with up to 96 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions, 99 percent lower land use, and 96 percent lower water use than conventional meat.”
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