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test-tube_hamburger(MCT)—Sergey Brin’s $330,000 hamburger does not come with fries.

Or a soda. Or, regrettably, that telltale soupcon of fat that makes a burger actually taste like a burger.

It does, however, come with a heaping side of bragging rights. Making its debut this past Monday at a tasting event at a London restaurant, the world’s first manufactured beef patty was created in a laboratory from a living cow’s stem cells, funded by the deep pockets of Google Inc.’s quixotic co-founder.

The burger’s backers say cultured meat could help alleviate animal cruelty while combating climate change, with lab-grown meat easing the environmental burdens of livestock production. And while those who tried it said the patty bordered dangerously close to being tasteless, its mere existence pleased animal-rights activists, stem-cell pioneers and food fetishists everywhere, not to mention millions of cows eyeing a new lease on life.

“We’re trying to create the first cultured beef hamburger,” Brin said in a videotaped message released Monday, as the world learned for the first time about his role in the project. “From there, I’m optimistic we can really scale up by leaps and bounds.”

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