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. SPIDERGOATS [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Nov 24, 2013 -
How can we better understand the interplay of nature and nurture in determining our personalities, behavior, and vulnerability to disease? Perhaps we should be looking at identical twins
. (National Geographic January 2012 cover story) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Dec 19, 2011 -
Cracking the Cancer Code:
We already know that all cancers are caused by DNA mutations acquired during a person's lifetime. But what mutations actually cause cancer? We may be one step closer to finding out. International research teams led by the Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have now mapped
the entire genetic code
of two of the most common human cancers: lung and skin (malignant melanoma).
Their findings have the potential
to revolutionize preventative and treatment therapies as well as pave the way for new early detection tests. More
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Dec 17, 2009 -
In terms of our genes
, we humans are all the same -- except
for the ways in which we're different. Pharmacogenomics has for years been touted as the ultimate benefit of the genomics revolution. But to many, this revolution has a troubling side.
posted by semmi
on Oct 13, 2004 -
Are heart disease, cancer and schizophrenia caused by pathogens?
The logic basically goes that a genetic disease cannot have a very high rate of occurrence as natural selection would prevent that gene from surviving (leaving the few occurrences of the disease that are caused by random mutation). Also: how to make diseases more benign by altering the parameters to their natural selection.
posted by fvw
on Jun 10, 2002 -