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Two years after scientists cooked up the first test-tube hamburger, researchers in Israel are working on an even trickier recipe: the world's first lab-grown chicken.
Professor Amit Gefen, a bioengineer at Tel Aviv University, has begun a feasibility study into manufacturing chicken in a lab, funded by a nonprofit group called the Modern Agriculture Foundation. The foundation's co-founder, Shir Friedman, hopes to have "a recipe for how to culture chicken cells" by the end of the year.
The researchers say their task is more difficult than the effort to produce a lab-grown hamburger, a $300,000 beef patty that was cooked up at Maastricht University in the Netherlands after five years of research financed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Rather than gathering small fibers of cow muscle into one big chunk of meat, Gefen will try to make a whole piece of chicken, starting from a single cell. Gefen said the plan is to culture chicken cells and let them divide and multiply.