These Goats Have Spider Genes. You Might Be Surprised By The Effect
September 17, 2015 #expanse
By August West

Human ingenuity will likely never cease to amaze. It's long been known that spider silk is a massively powerful natural material. observes that on a per-weight basis, it has a "ratio of strength to density exceeding that of steel." The silk's sheer strength, combined with its elasticity, has had thinkers wondering how we could make use of it for some time, but there have always been the obvious limitations surrounding mass production.

Spiders might be capable of producing more than enough silk for their own needs — but the numbers simply don't make it a feasible substitution for any building materials on a large scale. reports that attempts at spider farming have been made, but given the creature's territorial nature, these trials have ended with a sort-of spider omnicide.

It makes sense to assume that if the animal producing the silk were larger (and produced more of it) that the material would become more attractive, but it's a bit surprising to hear how Randy Lewis, a professor of molecular biology at the University of Wyoming, went about tackling the problem.

Along with a team of researchers, Lewis was able to breed goats that had the spiders' silk gene embedded in their own DNA. The result is an animal that produces milk that's filled with the spider silk protein. The National Science Foundation notes that spider silk would be useful for "eye sutures, as well as for certain facial injuries."

Check out BBC's clip below for a closer look, and be sure to let us know how you see this being used. When the video's over, share it with your friends on Facebook!

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