MA spider silk can be obtained by manually drawing the silk thread out of the spinning wart of immobilized spiders. “Spider silk is one of the toughest materials found in nature. However, this process is only suitable for MA silk (and not for the other spider silks), it is time consuming and highly expensive, especially since most spiders are cannibals, rendering farming costly.
The study is led by Dr. Hannes Neuweiler, a lecturer and group leader at the Department of Biotechnology and Biophysics at the University of Würzburg.
The transgenic animal spider and goat are used to produce a type of protein from spider silk in goat milk, which can replace synthetic fibers. Previous research showed that sliced peripheral nerve tissue from sheep unexpectedly bridged a 6cm gap with spider silk as a guide. Randy Lewis has been studying the properties of spider silk and developing methods for producing it synthetically for more than three decades. He has been studying spider silk proteins for many years – or more precisely their molecular properties. In the 1990s, his research team was behind cloning the first spider silk gene, as well as the first to identify and sequence the proteins that make up the six different silks that web slingers make.