Biotechnology

Industrial Strength Fibers

Definition

Biotechnology is a broad discipline in which biological processes, organisms, cells or cellular components are exploited to develop new technologies. New tools and products developed by biotechnologists are useful in research, agriculture, industry and the clinic.

Spider Fibers

Spider silk is the strongest fiber known to man, stronger than kevlar (used to make bullet-proof vests), with a higher tensile strength than steel.

The goats

In August 2000, Canadian company Nexia announced development of transgenic goats that produced spider silk proteins in their milk.

Silly Scientists

While this solved the problem of mass-producing the proteins, the program was shelved when scientists couldn't figure out how to spin them into fibers like spiders do. By 2005, the goats were up for sale to anyone who would take them. While it seems the spider silk idea has been put on the shelf for the time-being, it is a technology that is sure to appear again in the future, once more information is gathered on how the silks are woven.