back to article New GM worms mean large scale spider-silk production

Scientists in Indiana have announced success in producing a genetically modified abomination-style combo creature which is part spider and part silkworm. They believe that their creation will be handy for the production of next-generation bulletproof vests, among other things. The cunning thing about the new arachno-worms is …

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  1. Roger Greenwood
    Thumb Up

    Space elevator

    and about time too.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      No kidding.

      Two words:

      Orbital Tether. Beyond just the elevator, it coudl offer a non-microwave means of providing stable orbit-to-earth energy. Bring it on!

  2. Marco van de Voort

    Project failed

    The worm's larvae couldn't break out of their cocoon anymore, so procreation halted.

    Scientists are now looking for ways to clone the worm.

  3. Matthew 17

    I, for one would like to welcome our new arachno-worm overlords!

    This.

  4. JDX Gold badge

    Photos?

    Not sure I will like them though...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      no thanks!

      the arachnaphobes amoungst us will thank you to keep your horrifying gristly images of eight-legged worms with drooling manibles to yourself, thankyouverymuch!!!

    2. Anomalous Cowturd
      Badgers

      Re: Photos? Is SpiderGoat good for you?

      Be afraid!

      http://www.physorg.com/news194539934.html

      Not actually Badgers. SpiderGoats™

  5. Dan 63
    Black Helicopters

    Flying spiders

    So when the moth emerges from the chrysalis (assuming that it will be strong enough now) will it have fangs and eight eyes and 64 knees as well as wings and spinnerets.

    I don't mind moths and I don't mind spiders when they are not too close or on my bedroom ceiling at bedtime. But frankly the thought of flying spiders is a bit more than scarey.

    1. Rob

      Don't read this then...

      ... some spiders already fly in a sense, they shoot a strand of web into the air which catchs air current and they float off to a new location, I can't remember if it's breed specific though.

    2. Arbuthnot Darjeeling
      Thumb Down

      and

      they'll be bulletproof.

      I think I'll commit suicide

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    another comic book hero nears reality

    Referring to The Spider of course, not that namby pamby US creation.

  7. LuMan
    Joke

    Milking spiders??

    Between which set of legs would you put the stool??

    1. Baskitcaise

      Where would you put the stool??

      If I bumped into a spider big enough to be hand milked I think I know between which legs the stools would be!

  8. reverend jx

    Milking spiders?

    You can milk anything with nipples, Greg.

  9. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    While we're on that note...

    Do they have the technology to create spiderman yet?

    The next film would certainly be more realistic.

  10. jai

    with great power comes great......

    not sure if there's a movie franchise in a story about a kid that gets bitten by a radioactive worm and gains the ability to move, quite slowly, through mud and can re-grow himself when he gets chopped in half by a garden spade by his old aunty in a case of mistaken identity

  11. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Spider Silk Undies

    lethal wedgies.

  12. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    FAIL

    How *many* times have this been tried?

    First time I heard it was through bacteria, then goats milk, now works.

    This *might* be more workable as the creature is geared up to produce silk already. The physical state of what has been produced so far has *always* been a key issue.

  13. Pablo
    Thumb Up

    Vaguely disturbing

    But not nearly as much as the previous plan to cross spiders with GOATS. (I kid you not.)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Go Irish!

    Look for the next football caper to be web-thin invisible screens blocking the opponent's goal-line and -post. Whatever it takes to win.

  15. Petrea Mitchell
    Alert

    Huzzah for science

    One other barrier to "farming" the super-silkworms in certain places occurs to me, though: UK and EU regulations restricting GMO farming. Or are those worded so as only to apply to plants?

    I can already visualize Mr. Page's column from ten years hence, railing against crushingly expensive attempts to produce super-silk vests in some other way, rather than just buy cheap ones from the Yanks...

  16. P. Lee Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    bulletproof, flying spiders

    Here in Oz we have all kinds of lethal arachnids.

    But I'm sure someone will have signed a bit of paper to say they promise not to let any escape.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  17. herman Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Goat silk - got a silk carpet on my living room floor

    Goats have been producing silk in their milk for several years. I have a spider silk carpet on my living room floor - made in Belgium - under foot right now. Quite a nice carpet really and not expensive.

    1. Chemist

      "Goats have been producing silk in their milk for several years"

      Indeed they have but the yield is ~~1g/litre of milk and the product needs chromatography to purify it and seems to be used for very high performance (expensive) applications.

      Are you sure your carpet isn't mohair - the silky fabric from Angora goats

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Boffin

        @Chemist

        "Goats have been producing silk in their milk for several years"

        You mean someone actually got this to market as a *commercial* product?

        Who knew

  18. xj25vm

    Get Smart

    Oh no. Somebody actually watched that film in its entirety? It must be among the worst scripted, and most unconvincingly acted films I have seen in a long time. Even the bits which were obviously meant to be funny somehow would leave you thinking: "What the heck is going on? Is the director passed out in a corner?" Which was quite surprising, considering it had so many promising names among its cast.

    Where is that Selective Memory Erasing Device. *cringe*

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As long as

    they make sure these things can't survive in the wild. We've made enough errors with that as is.

    Otherwise, I'd like to see the product.

    1. Andrew Meredith
      Thumb Up

      Self limiting

      : they make sure these things can't survive in the wild. We've made enough

      : errors with that as is.

      I think the concept might well be internally self limiting. If the silk is that much stronger, as mentioned above, the adult won't be able to get out of the cocoon :-)

  20. Big Bear
    Alert

    @P.Lee

    In Oz you have frikking spiders that EAT FRIKKING BIRDS!!!!!

    http://www.cairns.com.au/article/2008/10/23/11601_local-news.html

    It just ain't right.

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