Transgenic Spidergoats Brief
November 24, 2013 1:55 AM Subscribe
posted by Blasdelb (24 comments total)
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Spider webs are incredibly strong and flexible. It’s no surprise, then, that spider silk proteins may someday form durable artificial ligaments for people who have injured their knees or shoulders. Six different kinds of silk are produced by orb-web weaving spiders. These silk fibers have very different mechanical properties that are so effective they have changed very little over millions of years. How to synthetically develop these silks is one focus of Lewis’ research. The secret to producing large quantities of spider silk is to use “factories” designed to manufacture spider silk proteins that are easily scale-able and efficient. Lewis uses transgenic goats, E.coli bacteria, transgenic alfalfa and transgenic silk worms to produce the spider silk proteins used to create spider silk. Spider silk is 100 times stronger than natural ligaments and 10 times stronger than natural tendons; it is stronger than Kevlar and more elastic than nylon.
A 6min brief on the work being done in Laramie, WY whereby spider silk is being spun from goat milk. SPIDERGOATSSynthetic biology and the rise of the 'spider-goats'
Horizon presenter Adam Rutherford looks at the advances in synthetic biology and genetic engineering that have resulted in, among other things, computer-made life forms and cancer assassin cells. That Horizon clip
Also, farming spiders for silk is not strictly impossible but it is dangerous, not economically viable, and not appropriate for medical uses.