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Silk From Genetically Modified Goats
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Summary
Genetically modified goats have been custom-designed by scientists to provide spider web silk in their milk. On the outside, the goats look perfectly normal. They run, they play and they munch on hay. But on the inside, the goats harbor an unusual secret – they have been genetically modified with a spider’s gene. The result is an animal that is almost all goat, and an eentsy-weentsy bit spider.
Nexia Technologies did this in order to produce large quantities of spider silk without bothering with spiders. Throughout their normal evolution, spiders have evolved to create a protein that has the very impressive mechanical properties that spider silk has. A single protein gives you strength and elasticity. Dr. Lewis has sequenced 4 out of 6 of the protein genes of the orb-weaver, known for its strong elastic webs, each responsible for a different kind of thread.
Dragline silk is the best type of silk. It is too difficult to do this with real spiders, so this type of silk is spliced into the goat’s genes. The silk is produced in the goat’s milk. This protein is distilled from the milk, purified, and spinned into fibers.
Keywords: bio-mimicry, Nexia, genetic research, Spiderman, Professor Randy Lewis, Spider Goat ranch
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