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The Spider-goat

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by

Jade Oh

on 26 February 2013

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Transcript of The Spider-goat

- Increased demand of spider silk fiber and its products, leading to scientists breeding more and more of this new species. They might
even try to find a way to increase the amount of silk produced in the milk, which might lead to mutation or the harming of the goats.

- Increase of value in these transgenic goats, and value of the spider
silk fiber increases. Impact on
mankind/
environment/
economy bioethical issues Pros Future Scope Reasons for its creation There is scope for an ethical debate on this and other examples of transgenic animals. Is it right for us humans to tweak animal’s genes? Is it right if we changed something that is ‘natural’? There are many arguments both for and against animal modification and cloning and in an effort to control research and ensure that ethical concerns remain a priority, restrictions and bans on research have been put in place by governmental agencies around the world. The Spider-goat The goats with spider genes
and silk in their milk. ECONOMIC IMPACT The advantages to this process are that the goat is not affected in any way.
According to Justin Jones, who maintains and performs research on spider goats for the University of Wyoming, the lifespan of the goat remains the same, and it is vulnerable to the same diseases as a regular goat. The silk from spider goats is stronger than Kevlar and extremely elastic. Genetically engineered ‘spider goats’ also produce vast amounts of spider silk in their milk when compared to tiny golden orb spiders and a substitute to spider webs. Cons - The spider silk fiber produced could have medical uses, for example used for
artificial ligaments and tendons, for eye sutures, and for jaw repair.
- The silk could also have applications in bulletproof vests and improved car airbags.
- The created spider silk fiber might be even used to create bullet-proof human skin.
- Many people might object the fact of crossing two animals of very different species, which might break out into social problems in society. Impact on Mankind ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT - Transgenic animals not only carry the stated foreign genes (in the case of the transgenic goats, the spider silk genes), but also other
genes sequences from viruses and bacteria including antibiotic resistance genes that often remain in the transgenic animal, thus
the risk is that we are unsure of what these genes are.
- Unknown side-effects towards the goats in a much later stage could prove dangerous. Done by:
Beatrice Chong (5)
Jade Oh (13)
Clarice Teh (23)
Yap Tze Tong (30) In the future, the scientists plan to incorporate the silk genes into alfalfa plants, which they say could produce even larger quantities of silk. They explain that not only is alfalfa widely distributed, it also has a high (20-25%) protein content, making it an ideal crop to produce silk protein. Although no disadvantages are known, there may be possible effects of the spider goat. As the spider goat’s milk is apparently drinkable and just like any other goat milk, it may come into people’s concerns if the milk that they produce will harm the human body. Altering the genetic makeup of an organism could potentially introduce new allergenic properties to it. Due to its strength and elasticity, spider silk fiber could have several medical uses, such as for making artificial ligaments and tendons, for eye sutures, and for jaw repair. The silk could also have applications in bulletproof vests and improved car airbags. Normally, getting enough spider silk for these applications requires large numbers of spiders. However, spiders tend to be territorial, so when the researchers tried to set up spider farms, the spiders killed each other. To solve this problem, Randy Lewis, a professor of molecular biology at the University of Wyoming, and other researchers decided to put the spiders’ dragline silk gene into goats in such a way that the goats would only make the protein in their milk. When these transgenic goats have kids and start lactating, the researchers will collect the milk and purify the spider silk protein into high quantities.
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