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Test-Tube Hamburger Patty Makes Its Debut

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By Patrick May

Already known for firing off “moonshots,” the call-me-crazy projects like Google Glass, the driverless car and personal genome analysis, the 39-year-old Brin can now add the test-tube burger to his resume.

This moonshot, Brin said, was driven by his concerns for animal welfare. In the video, he said the way animals are treated is “something I’m not comfortable with.” And he said creating alternatives like in-vitro meat makes more sense than expecting everyone to become vegetarian.

For animal-rights activist Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s president and co-founder, the coming-out party for what some have dubbed “Frankenburger” was a cause for celebration.

“I’m so excited, I could jump for joy,” said Newkirk, noting that teams of stem-cell researchers around the world have been working on similar in-vitro food projects for more than a decade. The man that Brin put his money behind — Dutch scientist Mark Post, who produced the burger in his laboratory at the University of Maastricht — is now leading the charge.

“His burger made it first to the head of the line,” said Newkirk. “But once others get this technology down pat, you’ll be able to grow the flesh of any animal. This is a watershed moment and we have champagne corks going off all over the place.”

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