Super-strong spider silk spun by engineered bacteria could find its way into next-generation space suits.
Spider silk is extremely useful, but spiders are not easy creatures to farm—they do not produce much silk and they will sometimes eat each other. To offer a microbial alternative, the research team broke the long and repetitive DNA stand of the spider silk protein into shorter blocks that the bacteria could translate into proteins. The shorter proteins were then joined together into a full-length protein, which had all the properties of natural spider silk. The team was able to produce two grams of silk per liter of bacteria culture, and are working to increase the yield.
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