Ethical concerns holding you back from enjoying delicious cheese? Fear not, a group of biohackers have turned yeast into real cheese!
A group known as the San Franciso Bay Area iGEM Team has managed to created real cheese without the need for an living, breathing animal. Using the magic of science, the team takes the genetic sequence found in a mammal (such as a cow) and then inserts that sequence into yeast. These milk protein genetic sequences then allow the team to “grow” the cheese, once they add some water, oil and sugar. From there, voilà, animal-free cheese that’s indistinguishable from the real thing.
The team has also taken the DNA sequences from humans, and managed to create a batch of cheese from that. Due to the fact that it’s healthier for humans to consume milk proteins originating from our own bodies, this “human” cheese ends up being healthier than cow and goat varieties. In fact, the process reduces allergens and allows those who have trouble breaking down the lactose in cow milk to once again enjoy the delicious taste of cheese.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that this isn’t being done on an industrial scale, the process is prohibitively expensive. Thankfully, the team has turned to Indiegogo to raise the $15,000 they need for all the initial ingredients, and have already managed to hit their goal in less than two weeks. With $25,186 raised and 11 days to go, you still have a chance to fund this real vegan cheese.
The team would eventually like to see this lab-grown cheese reach store shelves, but it’s still far too early in the process. Group member Craig Rouskey says they first need to prove they can do this, and then figure out how to scale in accordingly. The FDA will also need to approve the cheese, and until then it will most likely be labelled as “not for human consumption” in the meantime. That said, the first batch is set to be finished by late August.