The Spider-Goat!

The awesomeness of transgenics don´t  stop at glowing beagles or mice with human ears on their backs – they extend as far as the delightfully named spider-goat. The spider-goat is not, thankfully, a huge goat sized spider with nightmare pincers, but is actually a goat in most respects – except its milk. A goat whose DNA has been altered to include some spider DNA provides a very curious milk that can be purified, dried, and spun into very spider-like silk.

That’s both uncomfortably weird and incredibly useful. Spider silk, after all, is a fascinating substance – famously strong, light, and already spun. But spiders do not take well to farming, and as they are mostly teeny little creatures, they don’t produce enough silk to be useful in large-scale production. These transgenic goats, created by Randy Lewis at the University of Wyoming, produce about a half ounce of silk from every quart of milk – the equivalent of a hundred spiders.

So do not fear the spider-goat! Love it, for it may some day be responsible for your un-tearable sweater, your artificial tendon, or your unbreakable parachute cord!

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