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Meet the Mad Scientist Cooking up Human Hamburgers to Push the Boundaries of Future Foods

How lab-grown meat might save the environment, and make vegetarians of us all.

What if you could eat a cheeseburger made from Lady Gaga? Or taste the meat of the extinct dodo bird, but in nugget form? Bistro In Vitro hopes to make all of these culinary “delights” a reality in the not-too-distant-future. A self-proclaimed “virtual restaurant,” the all-digital bistro offers up food for thought rather than an actual menu, though it hopes some day to open a brick-and-mortar spot. The restaurant’s enigmatic creative director, Koert van Mensvoort, is an artist, scientist, philosopher, and the head of the Next Nature Lab. He has more than a few ideas on how we can both cut down on the destructive aspects of the meat industry and intro lab-grown options into our regular diet. “Lab meat has the potential to be more sustainable and animal friendly than current meat,” van Mensvoort recently proclaimed to GOOD, though he does admit there are “still many scientific hurdles” before a lab-grown leg of lamb lands on your dinner table.

(above) “Microbial Lamb’s Meat.” According to the site "this beautiful cut of microbial lamb has been prepared using minimal electricity, the power of beneficial bacteria and the natural fermenting process."

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Could Superweeds Mean the End of Genetically Engineered Crops?

Superweeds could be the final nudge needed to prompt an about-face on America’s acceptance of GE foods.

Forget the lowly dandelion. There’s a bigger menace threatening the American landscape: “superweeds,” agricultural intruders that are all-but-impossible to kill because they’ve evolved a resistance to traditional chemical herbicides. These virulent growers are choking out the country’s corn, cotton, and soybeans, costing farmers millions of dollars in lost crops. Superweeds have spread their roots to more than 12 million acres of American crop fields so far, and they show no signs of being uprooted.

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Fear the Frankenfish: Beneath the Gills of the Genetically Engineered Salmon

A quick-developing, nutritious, cheap fish with no negative health or environmental impacts? Many scientists say it sounds good—almost too good.


Government documents uncovered this December revealed a fishy situation: In 2009, Canadian authorities discovered a new strain of a deadly fish flu, Infectious Salmon Anaemia, at a Prince Edward Island aquaculture research facility. ISA outbreaks always mean trouble—the disease decimates fish populations across the globe—but this case is leaving an especially sour taste in foodies’ mouths.

That’s because the research facility was owned by AquaBounty Technologies, a biotech company that creates salmon eggs to hatch genetically engineered fish. AquaBounty never released information about the outbreak to the public, despite the fact that its GE salmon is poised to become the first transgenic animal to be approved for human consumption.

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Feast Your Eyes: Family Tree of Wine Grapes

And it looks pretty incestuous. What that means for the future of Merlot and biotechnology's role in breeding better vines.

After looking at at 9,000 genetic markers in 583 different grape varieties, Sean Myles, a genetic researcher at Cornell University, discovered that the 75 percent of the grapes winemakers grow are close cousins who, frankly, don't have a lot of sex. His study was published in the January issue of the Proceeding of the National Academy of Science.

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