PARIS – Meat grown in a laboratory may help ease environmental damage linked to rising demand for animal protein, said two Dutch universities developing such products.

In-vitro meat is “no longer science fiction,” Wageningen University said in a statement on its website. Meat is becoming a “problem product” because it uses about 70 percent of farm land and has environmental and animal-welfare issues, according to Wageningen, which is working with its counterpart in Utrecht.

“The big advantage of cultured meat is of course that there are no more animals involved,” Wageningen University said in the statement.

Researchers are using stem cells to grow muscle tissue in a project led by Henk Haagman at the University of Utrecht, while Wageningen will study the ethical and social issues of cultured meat. The idea was developed by Wim van Eelen, a Dutchman, in 1950.