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Move over, pink slime: Test tube burgers could be making their way on the McDonald's menu in the near future

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Exhibit B: A soon-to-be-burger made in a Petri dish.  Belfast Telegraph
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Just when you thought fast food couldn't get any more disgusting, scientists up the ante by developing hamburgers in a Petri dish. 

Yes, you read that right.

In a move perhaps less appetizing than pink slime, Dutch scientist Dr. Mark Post revealed a $330,000 plan for making burgers in the laboratory during an annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver on Sunday.

The Petri dish-bred beef is created using stem cells from bovine muscle tissue sourced from leftover slaughterhouse materials, Post explained.

Though the samples are not yet large enough to taste test — a three-centimeter-long patty isn't going to satisfy anyone, thank you very much — Post hopes to have a golf ball-sized burger by October.

Will the resulting burger look and taste like a real beef patty?

Based on the way CNN explains it, no:

The color is pinkish-yellowish, and Post and colleagues would like to make it look more appetizing in a natural way. Meat in typical hamburgers gets its color partly from blood. One way to make the stem-cell meat more authentic-looking is to use caffeine to coerce the cells to produce more myoglobin, a type of protein that carries iron and oxygen.

Apart from the "meat," scientists need to grow fat separately, for the juiciness and taste of the final product."

The impetus, of course, is an environmentally-conscious, animal-friendly way to feed the earth's rapidly growing population.

But this makes one wonder: Is test tube meat the way to go? Is a mostly-vegetarian diet really so bad?

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