Scientists Develop First Beef-Rice Hybrid

    Scientists Develop First Beef-Rice Hybrid
    Photo: David Greedy / Stringer via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Scientists at South Korea's Yonsei University say they've developed a sustainable, affordable, and protein-rich beef-rice hybrid that could cut the need for livestock farming.

    • In their research, published on Wednesday in the journal Matter, the scientists coated the rice with fish gelatine, added cow muscle and fat stem cells to the grains, and left them in a petri dish to culture for up to 11 days.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    This research deserves serious consideration as grain-based nutritious hybrid food containing beef grown from stem cells could one day be a healthier and more climate-friendly alternative to conventional diets. At a significantly lower cost, cell-cultured rice could also help feed millions in countries facing challenging situations, including famines.

    Narrative B

    While its cost and climate impact may look promising, it’s doubtful that consumers would take to a lab-developed food as an alternative protein source to traditional animal products. Moreover, it’s a challenge to provide sustainable supplies of cells that can be maintained in the lab without needing more animals.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that at least five cultivated meat products will be approved for sale in the US by April 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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