Biotechnology_Fall___2010

Biotechnology_Fall_ - Science Headlines ―Biotechnology‖ Mutant Worms Produce Piles of Spider Silk October 4 2010 Wired Science Snippets of

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Unformatted text preview: October 19, 2010 Science Headlines ―Biotechnology‖ Mutant Worms Produce Piles of Spider Silk October 4, 2010 Wired Science Snippets of spider genes let mutant silkworms spin silk stronger than steel . Scientists have coaxed miles of spider- like silk from a colony of transgenic silkworms , opening the door for large-scale production of super-strong, tough and flexible fibers. ―We can make a lot more silk from the silkworm process than you could possibly make from spiders ,‖ said molecular biologist Malcolm Fraser of the University of Notre Dame. Spider silk has long been hailed as a superfiber , useful for everything from surgical sutures to bulletproof vests to scaffolding for growing cartilage. But spiders tend to be predatory loners who turn to cannibalism when raised in close quarters , making it nearly impossible to mass produce the treasured threads. A tapestry on display at the American Museum of Natural History last year took more than a million spiders to produce. … By inserting specific spider genes into silkworm chromosomes , Fraser and his colleagues grew a colony of caterpillars that produce threads nearly as strong as spider silk . …… ―We can basically mix and match spider silk genes,‖ Fraser said. ―It’s like mixing paint — take properties that you want and mix them in, the silkworm has them all expressed and you have a mixture of properties in your silk strand.‖ ―Biotech‖ is relatively new! Biotech Revolution –started with discovery of DNA structure – 1953 (Watson and Crick) 1. Prior to that? First, just selection, then traditional plant and animal breeding – sexual propagation only , using Mendelian genetics a. A lot of progress was made b. But – had 2 major limitations: 1) Could only make crosses between closely related species ( ―genus x genus‖ crosses are rare!!) 2) Genes often come in groups – so additional traits were passed along with the one desired 2. 1970s – ―Biotechnology‖ came into use – a new ―tool‖ a. Discovered that enzymes could cut out a single gene. b. Allowed the movement of a single gene for a specific trait. Gene from a firefly insect was inserted into tobacco plant. (1970s) (This was basic , not applied research.) Since then, many other biotech ―break- throughs.‖ ―Pharming?‖ (Using plants & animals)-- Gene for production of vaccines against bacterial diarrhea was put into bananas. (Importance of this disease?) (Problems with antibiotic resistance?)-- Delivery and acceptance by people in LDCs was better. (You like needles?)-- No longer needed medical personnel to give shots.-- Another advantage: How are/were most vaccines produced? Sometimes, this caused problems. Why?...
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This note was uploaded on 01/27/2011 for the course ISB 202 taught by Professor Johnson during the Spring '08 term at Michigan State University.

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Biotechnology_Fall_ - Science Headlines ―Biotechnology‖ Mutant Worms Produce Piles of Spider Silk October 4 2010 Wired Science Snippets of

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