In 1931, Winston Churchill predicted that within 50 years the world would "escape the absurdity1" of raising a whole chicken on farm and instead grow parts in lab.
Now scientists are predicting that his vision will come to pass within the next 15 years, with the first lab-grown turkey gracing Christmas tables by 2030.
Although the idea of biotech companies growing meat in a lab might seem ethically2 dubious3, it has won the backing of environmentalists and animal rights campaigners who say it would reduce the reliance on battery animals and save resources.
Livestock4 farming has the biggest carbon footprint of any food and producing beef in vitro could cut greenhouse gas emissions5 by 90 percent.
Surveys have also shown that vegetarians6 would eat meat if it were grown in a lab, so it could open a lucrative7 new market for investors8.
The process works by taking a small piece of turkey breast and isolating9 special stem cells which form muscle fibre. Those cells are then placed in a soup of sugar and amino acids which tricks them into thinking they are still inside the turkey and need to continue dividing.
A single satellite cell can undergo 75 generations of division during three months, which in theory could produce enough muscle to make 20 trillion turkey nuggets.
At present, culture meat is not economically viable10. When the first hamburger was created in 2013, it took three months to grow at a cost of £220,000.
And creating a turkey-size amount of meat in Professor Mozdziak's lab would currently take more than £20,000 worth of growth serum11.
However, the team is now working alongside biomedical engineer David Kaplan at Tufts University, Massachusetts, who is looking for a way to grow cells in 3D, not just flat sheets, which would radically12 speed up the process and lower the cost.
The team predicts that the first meat could be available on shelves by 2030.
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