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Test tube beef: is it what's for dinner?

By Bell Puri

VANCOUVER, BC (CNN) -

Beef grown in a lab could be on your dinner table in the future.

Scientists say they have developed meat prototypes that will fool even the biggest burger fans.

Belle Puri says, "Imagine biting into a juicy burger only to find out the meat didn't come from an animal. Beef in a petri-dish is one of many concepts cooking in the minds of scientists on the quest to create a meat substitute.

At a Vancouver conference, two researchers have two equally different ideas. One is trying to grow meat from animal stem cells.

"It's still very small pieces and too small to actually cook it right now. So we're now gearing up to produce let's a golf ball size of this stuff and then cook it," said Mark Post of Endhoven University of Technology.

The other idea is working to make a meat alternative from plants.

"We have a class of products that just totally, totally rocks and cannot be distinguished from the animal base product that it replaces even by very hardcore foodies," said Patrick Brown of Stanford University.

One thing both scientists agree on is that growing meat in the traditional way is highly inefficient.

"What these scientists are talking about is creating another source of meat that has nothing to do with cows or farms. It would be meat produced in a test-tube." 

"There's a very high likelihood that it will be marketed within the year."

So we took the idea, if you will, to the horse's mouth.

"I think it's interesting that they avoid some of the issues like cruelty to animals and such but I think there's something weird about it."

"There's a lot of things I don't think I'd ever eat but that one for sure I don't think I'd ever eat."

"It sounds a bit Frankenstein to me but I also support it at the same time so it sounds kinda good but maybe not."

The "maybe not" part will likely be the high cost of the meatless meat. The first burger - which is still in development - has already cost scientists over $300,000. 

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