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We Share Vampires Appetite for Synthetic Blood

Posted on the 21 October 2011 by Thevault @The_Vault

We Share Vampires Appetite for Synthetic BloodCould True Blood become a reality? We’ve heard of testing of this blood before for emergency use, and back in January 2010, we reported on the experiments that are taking place and the blood equivalent has even saved a woman’s life in Australia.  Now, there is real discussion taking place as part of the ESRC’s Festival of Social Science 2011 on the topic.

Vampires on the “True Blood” television series are already enjoying the advantages of synthetic blood. While this may seem to be only the imagination on the big screen, the true benefits of blood manufactured from embryonic stem cells may be less than a decade away.

It is unclear however whether society can develop an acceptance of cultured blood – or an appetite for synthetic meat produced by related technology. For this reason it is vital the public has every opportunity to get involved with the latest developments in stem cell research, say researchers from the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Genomics Network.

Clips from the hugely popular True Blood TV show as well as the Twilight book and film series will provide a starting point for debate on recent biotechnology developments, including stem cell research, at a public event organised as part of the ESRC’s Festival of Social Science 2011.

The audience will be able to discuss a range of issues from Twilight’s ‘vegetarian vampires’ to the possibilities of ‘in vitro’ meat. “The fact that synthetic blood features so prominently in the True Blood series is a great opportunity to get a new – particularly younger audience – thinking about these issues,” emphasizes Dr Christine Knight. “The biotechnology developments that enable production of blood and meat in the laboratory are likely to affect all of us in the coming years.” For example, the potential to manufacture blood on demand for use in transfusions (up to 2 million units are needed a year) from embryonic stem cells could be a reality in just a decade from now.

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