Cloning a woolly mammoth? Might not be as crazy as you think.

Geneticist Hendrik Poinar is working on bringing the woolly mammoth back from the dead. In a talk at TEDxDeExtinction, he explains how scientists are extracting DNA from the remains of woolly mammoths preserved in permafrost.

From his talk:

If you had asked me ten years ago whether or not we would ever be able to sequence the genome of extinct animals, I would have told you, “It’s unlikely.” If you had asked whether or not we would actually be able to revive an extinct species, I would have said, “Pipe dream.”

But I’m actually standing here today, amazingly, to tell you that not only is the sequencing of extinct genomes a possibility, actually a modern-day reality, but the revival of an extinct species is actually within reach…

To learn more about the effort to sequence the woolly mammoth genome, watch the whole talk here»

Behold — the first lab-grown hamburger! And a TEDx Talk to pair it with

imageA burger made from Cultured Beef. Photo credit: David Parry / PA Wire

Today, the very first lab-grown hamburger was cooked. And eaten! And apparently it didn’t taste too bad!

The burger is a product of Cultured Beef, a project born at Maastricht University in The Netherlands and headed by Professor Mark Post, a specialist in tissue engineering and TEDx speaker.

The lab-grown patty apparently took two years to produce and $325,000 to fund — money donated by Sergey Brin, Google co-founder and TED speaker.

At TEDxHaarlem, Professor Post gave a talk called Meet the new meat, during which introduced Cultured Beef to the world, explaining the process behind its growth and the future he envisions for in-vitro meat.

From his talk:

This hamburger contains 60 billion cells. Now, that’s a lot. You need to culture a lot of cells. You need to somehow find a way to do that efficiently because, remember, we have to be more efficient than the cow or the pig…

It has to be efficient and it has to also be meat. Not some kind of substitute. We have more than enough substitutes from vegetable proteins. It needs really to be meat. Nothing less, nothing more…

It takes about 7-8 weeks to grow a muscle fiber, and so, also 7-8 weeks to grow a hamburger. You could do it at home if you like … If you have the right materials, it’s very, very easy to do. And in fact [the] stem cells … they survive freeze-drying, so you could envision that over the Internet we would eventually sell little, sort of, tea bags of stem cells — from tuna, from tiger, from cows, from pigs, from whatever animal you could imagine. Then, in the comfort of your own kitchen, you could grow your own tissue. You would have to know what you want to eat 8 weeks in advance — because it takes a while. 

The cooked and served burger was made from “around 20,000 muscle strands grown in Mark Post’s laboratory,” says Cultured Beef, “with a little egg powder and breadcrumbs and a few other common burger ingredients.” Now, that doesn’t sound half bad.

For more about Cultured Beef watch Professor Post’s entire talk, or take a look at their website. For more TEDx Talks, visit our website.