How are stem cells harvested for lab grown meat?



I was talking to my parents about lab grown meat and I told them how the future is lab grown meant and how nothing has to suffer to make it. However I got stumped when it comes to the harvesting stem cells part. For humans I know embryos are where stem cells are usually harvested from (plz correct me if I’m wrong), so I’m wondering does an animal have to die to harvest the stem cells?

In: Biology

Human stem cells can be harvested from a baby’s umbilical cord and placental blood, and also apparently from milk teeth. So I think that an animals death would not be strictly necessary. Although i don’t know how it’s done in practice for lab grown meat.

> For humans I know embryos are where stem cells are usually harvested from (plz correct me if I’m wrong)

Oh you’re very wrong.

Yes, embryonic stem cells do exist and it is one source, but it is by far the least utilized source because of the massive pile of ethical issues surrounding it. Some countries won’t allow them to be harvested/researched at all, whereas others allow it but funding bodies will cease funding if they know this is being used. In other places it’s accepted.

Stem/stromal cells can be isolated from just about any adult tissue with varying degrees of success. The most commonly used are mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow (BM), umbilical cord (UC) or umbilical cord blood (UCB), adipose tissue from liposuction procedures (AT) and dental pulp, but this is in no way an exhaustive list, and many other types of stem cells exist, including induced pluripotent stem cells, which are adult cells de-differentiated back to a stem-like state.

Bone marrow is most prevalent because historically it’s where these cells were discovered and best characterized. Tissues which are considered medical waste such as UC/UCB and AT are becoming more prominent because there is less ethics associated with it, and it’s pain free compared to bone marrow extractions.

For lab grown meat, the easiest cells to use would be from the tissue you’re trying to produce – muscle. This can be done without killing the animal via a biopsy, and then the stem cells are separated and grown until they can be used.

Source: I have a PhD in stem cell biology.