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  • Writer's pictureSinead Mackintosh

Spider Goats!

Spider goats!

This sounds like a rip off of a superhero character, but unlike the friendly neighbourhood spider-man, spider goats actually do exist! They are the product of careful genetic engineering that created a goat with the ability to produce spider web spindles in its milk. Researchers wanted to essentially “farm spider silk”, but spiders themselves are unsurprisingly uncooperative and tend to eat each other! Not great when you need hundreds to thousands of them to live together. Bring in the humble goat. By adding the genes related to spider silk, researchers were able to get the goats to express the gene and produce spider silk in their milk.

Now, you are probably wondering, “Why on Earth would they do this?” I thought the same thing to be honest, and the reason is super cool. Researchers are looking into using spider silk in medicine; it could be used to make artificial ligaments, tendons and even bulletproof vests and car airbags! This research field is known as synthetic biology and its rapidly growing with new and exciting discoveries happening all the time. Who knows, maybe one day all our cars will be fitted with better airbags and we will have our furry friends to thank!

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