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Old July 19, 2016, 08:46 AM   #1
hdaackda
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U.S. Army Testing Genetically Engineered Spider Silk for Body Armor

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U.S. Military Testing Genetically Engineered Spider Silk for Body Armor
Inserting spider's DNA into silkworms yields a tough fabric that has the strength of a spider’s silk but the production speed of a silkworm.



Golden Silk Spiders
Golden Silk Spiders (Nephila clavipes) - By Coveredinsevindust at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/inde...curid=10202324


Spider silk is considered one of nature’s toughest substances, comparable in strength to the Kevlar plastic present in bulletproof vests but is way more flexible. Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, a firm from Ann Arbor, Michigan, genetically altered silkworms to manufacture a fiber that is just like pure spider silk. Last week, the firm announced a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) contract to test this genetically engineered silk, which they are calling Dragon Silk™ for potential use in body armor.

There is a reason that silk from worms is affordable but you possibly can’t purchase dresses made out of spider silk: spiders are cannibalistic and territorial, which makes farming them for material manufacturing ridiculously exorbitant.

Enter the wonderful new marvel that’s called genetic engineering. In 2000, researchers first isolated and sequenced the key proteins that create spider silk (ampullate spidroin-1, spidroin-2, and so on.) That allowed scientists to reproduce spider silk proteins in E coli bacteria, yeast and other substances in somewhat the same method as pharmaceutical firms produce proteins for medicine. However, these techniques didn’t yield spider silk in large enough quantities.

Read more: U.S. Military Testing Genetically Engineered Spider Silk for Body Armor
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Old July 21, 2016, 01:01 AM   #2
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A very interesting development indeed. One article I read on the topic indicated that some of the worms had offspring which were able to produce the "super silk" which means it might be possible to eventually come up with a strain of silkworms with the gene which breed true.

I am very interested to see how this new material works in practice. It could be a significant step forward for soft-body armor.
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Old July 22, 2016, 06:30 AM   #3
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A related video of kraig labs

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4lcizg
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