Cow

More funding and scientific developments are making the potential for lab-grown meat a very likely scenario.

Startup company Modern Meadow is currently working on developing a nearly one-inch-long sliver of synthetic meat, according to the company’s submission to the USDA’s small business grant program.

The company received a substantial investment from Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Facebook board member, who has invested at least $250,000 into Modern Meadow to aid in the production of 3D bioprinted meat, reports The Huffington Post.

The Thiel Foundation’s Breakout Labs reports that Modern Meadow “is developing a fundamentally new approach to meat and leather production that is based on the latest advances in tissue engineering and causes no harm to animals.”

Similar efforts to create faceless meat products have been underway for some time. In addition to cultivating just the best tasting cuts of an animal, the development has the potential to dramatically decrease the impact raising livestock has on the environment. Lab-grown meat would not produce the methane that cows emit, nor would there be the need for as much grain or water in order to feed the animals. Animal rights advocates also support the technology for its ability to decrease the immense animal suffering commonplace in factory farming. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) offered $1 million to the first scientist that can ‘grow’ a steak back in 2009.

Modern Meadow is utilizing technologies in medical science to help build tissues and organs that the company hopes will produce a nutritious and sustainable food source.

“People used to dream about how innovation would make the future a radically better, more advanced place,” said Jonathan Cain, president of the Thiel Foundation. “By funding unusual approaches to known challenges, such as conflict over food prices or the diagnosing and curing of diseases, we hope that Breakout Labs helps bring about the sort of technologically prosperous world that people once imagined possible.”

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Image: Bob Jagendorf