Friday, March 18, 2005

Goats and Spiders

I'm going to the tea party today!!!

This morning as I was waking up to NPR, I heard a nice little Engines of Our Ingenuity about goats and spiders. It's genetics at work! In a good way!

Here's what happened: spiders make really strong thread for their webs (it's like silk, but better), but it's really hard to get that thread from spiders because they're so small and they don't make enough of it and then you have to deal with millions of spiders. So somebody took the gene(s) needed to make the thread and put it/them into a goat, and made it so it's only expressed in the mammary glands. The goats still make potable milk, but it's 'fortified' with this thread protein. To get the thread, you just treat the milk with salt to precipitate it, and now you've got tons of spider thread from a goat!

I love science.

2 comments:

  1. That is so fucking weird. Neat. But weird as all hell.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Waiting with bated breath for a report.

    ReplyDelete