Genetically Engineered “Spider Goat” Spins Out Elastic Material Superior to Kevlar

By: | May 29th, 2014

It just might be that in a few years time the fashion world will embrace spider goat silk. The world’s top models will ply fashion runways of New York, Paris, Tokyo and Beijing dressed in spider goat silk, the rich and famous will show off the new fashion at Hollywood galas and the rest of humanity will look on enviously.

A “Spider Goat” named Freckles is part spider and part goat, created by Randy Lewis, professor of genetics at Utah State University, is an attempt to produce “dragline silk” spiders used to catch themselves when they fall. The material is stronger than Kevlar, a synthetic fiber used as a reinforcing agent in tires, rubber products, and protective gear.

Synthetic Biology & Engineering New Materials

Synthetic biology involves the creation of biological systems to solve challenging life science and engineering problems. Synthetic biology is possible through recent advances in DNA sequencing, creation of synthetic genes, and a new and evolving understanding of how natural and synthetic genes behave in different situations. Last but not least is the continuing reduction in the cost of undertaking these types of projects and a seemingly lax regulatory environment.

How to Build Synthetic Organisms

Synthetic biologists use enzymes, genetic circuits, metabolic pathways, and cells in the design and building of new integrated biological entities and systems. As we have seen on IndustryTap, for example, in the area of solar modules, is that there is a tremendous amount of innovation occurring because the industry is so new, but there are serious issues with synthetic biology, requiring public policies and regulations to protect the environment, biodiversity and human health.

The New Frontier

In the decades ahead as the science and technology of synthetic biology improves, scientists imagine resurrecting any extinct creature they desire.

While humans have struggled for millennia to survive and thrive, history has shown that nature and change are the ultimate arbiters when it comes to living and dying. But all this may soon change: questions such as “will humans become immune to all viruses?” or “can we structure bacteria and other organisms to produce every day items?” are powerful motivators and have scientists thinking that nearly anything is possible. On the other hand, some imagine a nightmarish future for humans, animals and all living organisms on the planet if the science gets “out of control.”

New Advances in Medicine & Energy

The most promising areas currently under study involve medicine and goals such as curing cancer and eradicating disease. According to scientists at Northwestern University, synthetic biology allows them to combine tools and concepts from physics, engineering and computer science to analyze biological systems quickly and cheaply. There is heady talk of synthetic biology ushering in a new technological revolution that will raise the standard of living and health worldwide.

[relatedYouTubeVideos relation=”title” max=”1″ class=”horizontal center bg-black” showVideoTitle=”true” showVideoDescription=”true”]

Related articles on IndustryTap:

References and related content:

More articles from Industry Tap...