Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Silkworms Have Been Genetically Modified to Produce Pure Spider Silk

Spider silk has been sought after for many applications, from surgical sutures to protective gear. However, the challenge of mass-producing this material has kept scientists stuck for years due to the territorial and cannibalistic nature of spiders. In a study, researchers from China have achieved a major milestone by coaxing pure spider silk out of genetically modified silkworms.

Using the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing tool, the scientists successfully inserted the complete genetic blueprint for spider silk production into silkworms. This breakthrough enabled the worm's silk-making glands to produce spider silk protein.

Despite these obstacles, silkworms emerge as prime candidates for genetic engineering due to their ability to produce silk and the limitations other modified organisms face in generating usable fiber. In the future, the research team aims to enhance the silk's strength and flexibility by incorporating artificial amino acids into the spider silk protein, potentially surpassing the natural fiber's inherent limits.

The success in modifying silkworms to manufacture spider silk opens the door to a whole new world in biomaterial engineering. As this innovative technology advances, it holds the potential to revolutionize various fields.


More information about Spidersilk

Silkworms Being Genetically Modified



1 comment:

  1. I find this article interesting as it shows how protein purification and gene manipulation can help future endeavors. I wonder if this has any detrimental effect to the modified silkworms.