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Leather jacket grows in dish news in science abc science Oron catts and ionat zurr of the tissue culture art project based at the university of western australia are developing the jacket as part of their bizarre range of objects grown using tissue culture. "This is part of what we refer to as the 'victimless' series,"Says catts, who has a background in product design and has studied tissue culture in the us at harvard university. Inspired by the famous mouse with an ear grown on its back, catts and zurr have been busy since 1996 with tissue culture, growing everything from tiny dolls to what they call victimless meat. Their aim:To get the public thinking about ethical issue raised by modern biotechnology including tissue culture and animaltohuman transplants. "I want to create scenarios forcing people to question our perceptions of life and to be confronted by what can be done with life,"Says catts. Last year the pair grew a tiny prototype of the leather jacket to show how a leatherlike substance could be made without killing animals. They coated layers of degradable polymers, cut to the shape of a jacket, with human and mouse cells. "We are now proposing to try and do it much bigger,"Says catts. "We are attempting to do it in a size that would fit a newborn baby. " Not all scientists are amused While based at harvard in 2000, catts and zurr grew a guatemalan worry doll, given to children to tell their worries to before they go to sleep, for the head of the lab. "He had enough sense of humour to take it and allow us to continue our research,"Says catts. But not everyone necessarily appreciates the artists' approach. Catts says he and zurr once grew pig wings as a comment on what he calls"Genohype", for a 2001 UK exhibition, organised by the Wellcome Trust to celebrate the human genome.But the offering was rejected. "People are being promised that the human genome project is going to solve so many problems.It might do, but it's created so much hype that people are quite disappointed now,"He says. "The new york times, for example, recently declared gene therapy as one of the biggest failures of scientific endeavours. "In 2003 catts and zurr cultured frog muscle cells on a degradable polymer to make tiny frog steaks for a"Disembodied cuisine"Feast held in nantes, france. Unfortunately the polymer scaffolding in the meat hadn't broken down properly and had the consistency of felt, says catts. And because the frog muscle cells had not been"Exercised", the meat was like jelly. He says some of the dinner guests spat out the meat so they held later exhibitions promes2014 titled"The remains of disembodied cuisine". Catts says while companies that produce wall coverings and other cocktail dresses australia cheap coatings have been interested in the work, there have been no commercial arrangements because the artists want to keep their methods public.