Coming Soon: Leather From a Lab?

And someday ... lab-grown meat, too?
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2012 1:24 PM CDT

(Newser) – Love the look of leather jackets, but can't handle how they're made? Within five years, you could be donning a leather jacket that was grown in a lab, according to one company. Modern Meadows is developing lab-grown leather and even lab-grown meat, but is focusing on leather right now because "skin is a simpler structure than meat, making it easier to produce," co-founder and CEO Andras Forgacsays tells Txchnologist. Plus, people don't get as weirded out about lab-grown leather, he explains; only 40% of people would try "cultured meat."

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So how does one grow leather in a lab? Well, cells are taken from a cow, fused together, and put in a bioreactor, where they mature, according to the Daily Mail. Skin cells are used for leather, while muscle and fat tissue is used for meat. The biggest problem for Modern Meadows is mass producing the cells. But apparently PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has faith in the firm, because he's invested more than $350,000 in it. (Read more Peter Thiel stories.)

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