Using mail-order DNA, they’re tricking yeast cells into producing a substance that’s molecularly identical to milk. And if successful, they’ll turn this milk into cheese. Real cheese. But vegan cheese. Real vegan cheese.
We’re approaching a world where the divide between the “natural” and the “artificial” collapses, where amateurs in their kitchens can fiddle with life to make edible substances that are both artisanal and the most radically processed foods ever made.
As it stands, the Real Vegan Cheese team has identified 11 proteins that will form the foundation of their cheese. The next step is to take custom-fabricated snippets of DNA—genetic material that carries the instructions for synthesizing milk’s proteins—and insert them into plain old baker’s yeast.