The Fred Flintstone Diet either sounds like a joke, or describes a cholesterol-packed system for those who want to die prematurely. However, a Belgium company that specializes in creating synthetic proteins for the artificial meat business, is trying to produce the ingredients for such a diet – Woolly Mammoth Burgers.
There have always been cranks out there who have tried to create, or recreate, monsters. Many of these people have either made Hollywood films, been inspired by them or, in the case of Frankenstein, have written books that Hollywood has used to make horror movies. However, the discovery of DNA has taken the possibility of re-creation to a whole new level.
Efforts are underway to re-create woolly mammoths, other extinct species, and even the use of a lock of Elvis’ hair to perhaps re-create the rock-and-roll star one of these days. Dolly, the sheep, was a step in that direction but current possibilities are limited, it seems, only by people’s imagination. Woolly Mammoth burgers seem quite tame in comparison.
Paleo, the Belgium Company in question, has begun work with the Centre for Palaeogenetics, in Sweden, to obtain fragments of DNA from mammoth teeth that have been found in Siberian permafrost. The Company is combining these 1.2 million-year-old fragments with DNA from Asian and African elephants, the Woolly Mammoth’s nearest living relatives, to try and reconstruct a gene. That gene, they hope, will contain the mammoth version of myoglobin, a protein that helps give meat its rich taste and vibrant red color.
The Company inserted that gene into the DNA of yeast, which duly began turning out mammoth myoglobin. The protein was then mixed with binders such as potato starch, oil, salt and other flavors to that it resembles the taste and texture of a burger.
Paleo raised US$13.1 million in its first round of funding, so someone must believe in the idea of a Fred Flintstone diet. The Company expects Mammoth Burgers to be available for sale to the public soon……..look for them on your supermarket shelves.
Paleo is not the only company investigating mammoth meat. An Australian company has also made mammoth meat using a slightly different process. Vow, the company concerned, says it has made a volleyball-sized lump of the stuff by injecting engineered mammoth myoglobin into the laboratory-grown stem cells derived from sheep. Don’t ask me to explain that further, please?
Geltor, a start-up that has raised more than $100 million, used a different extinct animal. It took sequenced Mastodon DNA to produce collagen, a protein found in skin and tendons, and turned that into the gelatin for gummy sweets. Whatever next?
A British company is apparently attempting to engineer scents from extinct flowers to use in perfumes.
Maybe the idea of producing fragrances from the DNA in a hair sample of Elvis will be the next marketing sensation.
However I have to introduce a note of caution into these somewhat euphoric applications of DNA. They could just as easily be taken in a completely revolting direction; Donald Trump fragrances or Vladimir Putin perfume……..god help us.
Equally, I suppose if we take this whole concept further, and there seem to be no reason why we shouldn’t, or couldn’t, reincarnation might eventually be possible. Donald Trump copies as the perpetual President of the United States forever? The thought should make all of us shudder. Unimaginable certainly, but history tells us some idiot might try it. However, reincarnating Elvis might not be such a bad idea!
Cryogenics might not be necessary anymore. We don’t need to freeze the originals when we can re-produce them.