Monday, November 23, 2009

Scientists are developing spider-goats to produce sought materials

 Scientists are developing spider-goats to produce sought materials

What do you get when you cross a spider with a goat? It sounds like it should be the start of a joke, but the spider goat project reflects just one of many disturbing genetic hybridisation projects. Genetic scientists have incorporated selected spider DNA into goat embryos to engineer a hybrid spider goat – and here's why…. Spiders can produce an amazing substance, highly desirable, more valuable than gold – that substance is spilder silk.

Nexia Biotechnologies in Quebec along with scientists at the U.S. Army's Soldier Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM) in Natick, Mass, have taken the specialized silk producing gene from a spider and inserted it into a goat embryo. The result is a goat……that looks like a goat, acts like a goat, but produces milk which contains proteins which, when treated, produce a very close imitation of the valuable spider silk. A single goat only produces small amounts of the desired material, so an extremely large herd is required to acquire useful quantities.

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