This Australian Food Startup Just Made Meatballs Using Mammoth DNA

Vow, an Australian-based cultivated meat company, claims to have brought back the extinct woolly mammoth meat using modern technology. The company, along with international experts in the project, believes that this breakthrough could revolutionize the food industry.

The meatball made from mammoth meat was displayed at the NEMO science museum in Amsterdam.

“We chose woolly mammoth meat because it is a symbol of loss, wiped out by climate change,” said Tim Noakesmith, co-founder of Vow, as reported by Science Alert.

“We face a similar fate if we don’t do things differently,” including changing practices such as large-scale farming and how we eat, Noakesmith added.

Cultured meat is produced using cutting-edge molecular technology from animal cells instead of actual animal cells. This type of meat can significantly reduce the environmental impacts often associated with conventional meat production and can be customized to improve both flavor and nutritional content.

The scientists at Vow cultivated the meat over several weeks by identifying the genetic sequence for the flavor-giving protein mammoth myoglobin. To create the meatball, they used the DNA of the woolly mammoth and added DNA from the African elephant, which is the mammoth’s closest living relative.

“I won’t eat it at the moment because we haven’t seen this protein for 4,000 years,” said Ernst Wolvetang of the Queensland University’s Australian Institute of Bioengineering, who worked with Vow on the project. “But after safety testing, I’d be really curious to see what it tastes like.”

The scientists in an oven slowly cooked the enormous meatball before having its exterior browned with a blowtorch. “It smelt a bit like when we cook our crocodile meat,” James Ryan, Vow’s chief scientific officer, told the audience.

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