Spider silk is an extraordinary material, and sought after for their important uses. However, unlike the case with the silkworm is not feasible to set up farms of spiders, because these small animals tend too much to territorialism and cannibalism as well, of course, be more dangerous to humans the silkworms.
Produce transgenic worms capable of generating spider silk is a path that opened for some time. Now, this strategy for spider silk a commercially viable manner, is now closer to the commercial reality that the mere laboratory experimentation.
After obtaining such transgenic worms in the laboratory of Malcolm J. Fraser Jr. of the University of Notre Dame in the United States, have now been successfully completed testing of silk production.
Natural silk produced by spiders has a number of unusual physical properties, including a much greater resistance to the structural stresses and elasticity, as compared with natural silk fibers produced by worms. Spider silk worms produced in transgenic has properties similar to those of the genuine spider silk, in terms of strength and flexibility.
The spider silk fibers have many biomedical applications today and possibly more in the future. Among the utilities of this material include its use in very fine sutures, bandages improved for wound healing, or the creation of natural scaffolds for the repair or replacement of ligaments and tendons.
These spider silk fibers obtained from transgenic worms may also have applications beyond the biomedical field, for example in flak jackets in strong and lightweight structural fabrics, for a new generation of sports apparel, and for better airbags for cars.
Since silkworms already have a platform suitable commercial silk production, these new genetically engineered worms can be an effective and commercially viable solution to the problem of large-scale production of artificial protein fibers.
In the research worked along with Fraser, worked Bong-hee Sohn and Young-soo Kim, University of Notre Dame, and Donald Jarvis and Randolph Lewis of the University of Wyoming.