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Got Silk? – Science Nation

Got Silk? – Science Nation


MILES O’BRIEN: This is a story about silk and milk.
The silk is from golden orb weave spiders. HEATHER ROTHFUSS: Here you go, pumpkin. MALE: They’re incredibly inquisitive.
They’re a lot of fun. MILES O’BRIEN: The milk from specially bred goats. Good luck trying to connect those dots.
So what’s the thread? RANDY LEWIS: There’s a lot of interesting
spider silk fibers because they’re stronger than almost any other man-made
fiber and they also are elastic. MILES O’BRIEN: Because its stronger ounce
for ounce than other materials, there are many possible medical uses;
from artificial ligaments to sutures for surgery. RANDY LEWIS: So the question is how
do you produce large amounts of the material. MILES O’BRIEN: Spider farms just dont work.
They tend to kill each other. So, molecular biologist Randy Lewis figured out
how to put the spiders silk-making genes into goats. RANDY LEWIS: What we did was put that gene
into some goats in a situation where they would only make the protein in their milk.
And when the goats have kids and then they start lactating, we collect the milk and we can purify that
protein in much, much higher quantities. MILES O’BRIEN: With help from the National
Science Foundation, Lewis studies spider silk at the University of
Wyoming. And so far, Lewis says he’s seen no differences in the health or appearance of the
transgenic goats. RANDY LEWIS: Good girl. Well, come on. Come on.
I know, you dont want to go down. MILES O’BRIEN: Feeding and milking goats and
wrangling spiders are sometimes part of the job. RANDY LEWIS: So we collect the milk out here and
then we take it back to the lab for processing. HEATHER ROTHFUSS: The silk were particularly
curious about is the dragline. That’s the outside of the web.
It’s the strongest part of the structure. MILES O’BRIEN: Chemical Engineer Heather
Rothfuss separates the silk protein from the milk. No arachnophobia for her. In fact,
she’s actually warmed up to working with spiders. MALE: I’m on the roll now. So, it’s collecting okay. MILES O’BRIEN: Just four drops of protein process
from the milk can be spun into four yards of silk. RANDY LEWIS: And so, there will be a lot of applications; eye surgery, plastic surgery,
neurosurgery MILES O’BRIEN: The lab is also introducing
genes into alfalfa plants. So, how do people
react to this tangled web of a tale? RANDY LEWIS: They understand
that you can’t just farm spiders, so you’ve got to come up with another way to make the material. MILES O’BRIEN: No kidding. For Science Nation, I’m Miles O’Brien.

Comments (23)

  1. Is anyone else concerned about this?

  2. Well I want the gene for eagle vision and dogs hearing isolated and put into me so I can see and hear better! I SMELL SUPER SOLDIERS

  3. @jayone451 You smell wrong. Genes modify how the body grows and shapes itself, it doesn't modify fully-formed bodies.

  4. WHAT HAS SCIENCE DONE?!?!?!

  5. eliminated god :p

  6. web shooters are ready, now i need a radioactive spider.

  7. Why cant chemistry produce synthetic spider silk? Why go to this extreme to produce it?

  8. I like spider-pig better…

  9. I estimate in 2020, if all goes well, I'll be Spider-man……..

  10. For similar reasons why we can't make meat in a beaker. Sad, but real. It doesn't seem to be cruel to the goats.

  11. Spider farms just don't work, they tend to kill each other. HAHAHAHA

  12. when will it possibly made mass produced? this is revolutionary exciting when we can use it to build super light/strong cars, houses and many other things.

  13. The spider they cross bred it with is the worlds strongest web making the web stronger then kevlar ( buillet proff vest ) if its not as strong its gonna be so useful xD

  14. this is so amazing. i love the goats!!!!

  15. Goat pun – priceless.

  16. They sure sure know how to spin making monsters out of God creations sound fun! Did I feel a raindrop?

  17. Letting that spider crawl on your hand? NO NO NOPE

  18. yo i believe that its wrong to play god but is it really be honest didn't we just change in to make web we changed are fruits and stuff thats gods creations 😀 no hate at all just a nice convo if any one wants to talk about this 😀

  19. Great video !! very Inspirational !!! will recommend to all my friends !!! extremely helpful !! 5/5 stars !!

  20. if we assault an objective we will do it our way again. Nature often solves materials problems in an unexpected way. Many more are likely to emerge in the near future. The wealth of structural solutions in biological composites fulfilling function represents a natural database. biologists extract the structure-function relationships and to make them available to engineers.

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