Transgenic Spidergoats

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Factories with four legs.

A farm at Utah State University is proposing a novel solution to the seldom-asked question: how do you create spider silk without spiders?

As spider silk is one of the strongest biomaterials known to man, it has enormous appeal and many applications, but the problem to producing it on an industrial scale is that spiders are notoriously difficult to farm.

Enter the transgenic spidergoat – a genetically modified goat designed to secrete the spider silk protein in its milk and allowing for large scale production and collection.

This example is just one of many in the emerging field of synthetic biology where our knowledge of genetics is allowing us to manipulate and custom-design organisms to create genetic variants that would never usually occur in nature. In this case DNA coding for spider silk protein has been inserted into the genome of a goat, taking advantage of its milk production to generate large quantities of this desirable biomaterial.

The film is part of a larger documentary project exploring synthetic biology produced by Sam Gaty and George Costakis of Field Test Films.

Themes

Technology

Details

Type:
Documentary
Location:
Utah, USA
Published:
2012
Filmed:
2012
Credits:

Field Test Films

Licence: © Field Test Films

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