We don't like to think about it, but there's no denying that gelatin -- the gelling agent that makes marshmallows, Jell-O, pudding, and gummy candies so jiggly -- is made from boiled animal skin, bones, connective tissue, and organs. That's why most vegans and vegetarians won't touch the stuff.
Now, in an effort to create a better gelatin, scientists are working on a new recipe that, if you ask me, calls for something much grosser than animal remains ...
Get ready. Because the gelatin of the future could contain human-derived material. Relax -- it doesn't involve boiling bones but rather tinkering with human genes. According to Popular Science, here's how it works: The genes "...are inserted into yeast strains that are tuned to produce gelatin in specific, controlled ways."
On the one hand, it sounds like a brilliant idea. With anything made from animal products, there's a risk that it could carry infectious diseases. Cutting down on animal consumption can benefit our health and the environment. And the vegans and vegetarians might be happier (keyword: might).
But then there's the simple fact that no one really want to talk about: If you eat human-derived gelatin, doesn't that mean you are technically a cannibal? Even if it's too insignificant an amount or too dramatically transformed to really matter, I'm not sure there's getting around that fact. Of course, I don't have to remind you that we eat revolting things all the time -- horse semen, breast milk ice cream, meat made in a lab. But this takes the "ick" factor up a whole new notch.
It used to be you could gross people out with the old wives's tale that Jell-O is made from horse's hooves -- or worse. But Jell-O made from human genes sounds just as disgusting and unbelievable.
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