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Web-spinning goats

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Katherine Kuo

on 16 March 2013

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Transcript of Web-spinning goats

Scientists have genentically engineered a goat that produces spider's web protein in its milk. Web-spinning Goats How was this done? Researchers inserted a spiders’ dragline silk gene into the goats’ DNA in such a way that the goats would make the silk protein only in their milk. This “silk milk” could then be used to manufacture a web-like material called Biosteel.
Nexia scientists started by putting a single highly characterized gene into a goat egg cell through a tiny glass pipette. About five percent of the time, a spider silk gene becomes part of one of the goat chromosomes. After the egg is transplanted back into a foster mother, the goat is born with the gene that produces milk with spider silk in it.
The goat doesn't look like a spider because you get 70,000 goat genes and one spider gene Protein in their Milk

The re-engineered goats were then able to produce in their milk the same protein that makes up spider's silk.
By isolating those proteins from the goats' milk, they were then able to "spin" a thread remarkably similar to natural spider silk.
Offspring will produce spider silk protein in their milk that can be collected, purified and spun into the fibres Why is it important? Spider silk is five times stronger than steel and about three times tougher than man-made fibers such as Kevlar.
Can form better, lighter bulletproof vests to safer suspension bridges."
"A self-assembling, biodegradable, high-performance, nanofibre structure one-tenth the width of a human hair that can stop a bee travelling at 20 miles per hour without breaking. Spider silk has dwarfed man's achievements in material science to date." Limitations The amount of silk-building protein that Nexia has been able to produce has been limited to a few strands. And it isn't clear yet how much protein may be able to be harvested in such a manner. Turner says his team expects to have a second research paper that would examine such details out by the end of this year.
Nexia's experimental silk strands aren't an exact match — yet. Turner notes that they're only 20 percent to 40 percent as strong as natural spider silk. by Katherine Kuo "Maaaaa"
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