The whole leather industry, based as it is on animal hides, is vulnerable these days to sensibilities about the relationship between human beings and other animals that would scarcely have crossed peoples’ minds in former years.
Factory-grown leather promises several advantages over skins taken from animals. One is that it can be made in convenient sheets with straight edges, rather than being constrained by the irregular shapes that animals come in. Another is that it is more consistent than the natural stuff. It is devoid of the scars, marks and other defects to which real skin is inevitably prone. Nor does it vary from animal to animal in the way that natural leather does. All these facts reduce waste and improve quality. They will also, presumably, please those who feel that animals should not have to die in order that people can have nice shoes and plush seat covers.
To produce its leather, Modern Meadow begins with a strain of yeast that has been genetically engineered to make a protein identical to bovine collagen. Collagen is the principal structural protein in animal bodies.
As to cost, the new material will […] be competitive with natural leather.
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