Long live the New Flesh.

Jacket Grows From Living Tissue

Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr at the Tissue Culture & Art Project are attempting to grow a semi-living jacket in an effort to create "victimless leather." Hoping to highlight the possibility of wearing leather without killing an animal, the duo is presently focused on growing living tissue into a leather-like material and having it mature in the form of a miniature, stitchless, coat-like shape.

Cells used in the project so far have come from so-called immortalized cell lines, or cells that divide and multiply forever once they are removed from an animal or human host, essentially forming a renewable resource.

"The interesting thing about cell lines is that in most cases once a cell line has been developed there is much more of that than the original organism from which it was taken," said Catts. "For example, the 3T3 mouse cells which are very common in scientific research centers around the globe can be weighed in tons or even tens of tons and they all came from one mouse in the 1970s."

"One of the most common and somewhat surprising comments we heard was that people were disturbed by our ethics of using living cells to grow living fabric," said Zurr, "while the use of leather obtained from animals seems to be accepted without any concern for the well-being of the animals from which the skin has been removed."

See also: LoveLump.

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25 Responses:

  1. rosefox says:

    Dude, that's awesome. From a design perspective, smooth lines uninterrupted by angles and seams are one of my favorite things in the whole world, and I bet it would rapidly be reflected all over the design esthetic of the time. From a fetishwear perspective, it'd be awesome to have leather clothes that are grown to fit you! It's probably only a matter of time until they figure out how to engineer in various capabilities for, say, elasticity. I mean, stretch leather. The fetish scene would never be the same.

  2. marm0t says:

    Very cool from an ethical and design perspective, but it still made me a little queasy over breakfast.

  3. masterkill says:

    Fuck leather jackets, how about MEAT? Producing meat by running sunlight, carbon dioxide, water, etc. through a cow is so not efficient! (Also, it kills the cow.) Is anyone studying this?

  4. ivorjawa says:

    Love the mad scientist-looking flask pictures. You sure they didn't just grab a couple of screen captures from NIN's "Closer" video?

  5. gths says:

    Golly. So does that mean that if they let the leather jacket grow large enough, it could devour the whole world?

  6. greatbiggary says:

    Wait... Can I still puts the lotion on it? :(

  7. naturalborn says:

    Either the tissue in that photo is about an inch high, or it's a photoshop job.

    • jwz says:

      It is about an inch high -- they prototyped the mouse jacket as a jacket for a mouse.

    • mendel says:

      Hey, this isn't Slashdot, there's an article to read there.

      Grown using a combination of mouse and human cells, the jacket is currently quite tiny (about 2 inches high and 1.4 inches wide) and would just fit a mouse.

  8. waywind says:

    Is "semi-living" anything like "undead"?

  9. jkonrath says:

    Can they grow a bookcover to bind my copy of the necronomicon?

  10. Truly trick would be a jacket that started out jacket-sized, then grew to quarter length for fall, then full-length for winter, then shed the lower bits for spring. (Important note: sleeve length should not change.)

  11. mattallen says:

    Does anyone think "fur coat" when you read this?

    What about a coat with a pulse? That keeps you warm with it's body heat? ;)

    • rearkick says:

      Sure! It would need some sort of fuel to keep running tho. Maybe you could go naked underneath it and the coat could live off of the skin cells from your body.

      Nothing like being eaten by your coat...