Genetically engineering Mother Nature to save lives

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Japan’s Toyobo Industries makes fibres for bullet proof vests. It did get into hot water over defective materials in 2009. Well life may get tougher again in Kraig Biocraft gets its way.

The U.S. Army is looking to harness genetically modified Dragon Silk fibers for bullet proof vests.

Michigan-based Kraig Biocraft Laboratories has genetically modified silkworms using the DNA from spiders that makes silk-related proteins.

Although spiders can weave a stronger thread, their cannibalistic tendencies make it difficult to creat a ‘one-stop shop’ for spider silk, according to Live Science.

According to Kraig Biocraft, a silkworm’s lifecycle mirrors that of a caterpillar’s. When the worm is around 30 to 35 days old, they spin cocoons that are then collected and made into silk.

“Dragon Silk scores very highly in tensile strength and elasticity, which makes it one of the toughest fibers known to man and the ideal material for many applications,” said Jon Rice, COO of Kraig Biocraft in a statement. “Providing material for this ballistic shoot pack initiative is an important next step for Kraig and spider silk. This contract reinforces the many significant potential applications for recombinant spider silk.”

2 comments

  1. Hmmm…That’ll give some competition to the “spider goat” guy in the UK.

    BTW – You from OZ? I don’t see many others choosing a red back as the spider of choice for imaging.

    Like

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