4 Jan 2012

Worms modified to make stronger silk

11:41 am on 4 January 2012

Scientists in the United States say they have successfully modified silkworms to spin the much stronger silk that spiders produce.

Researchers at the University of Wyoming say their work could be a breakthrough in making new materials for use in medicine and engineering, the BBC reports.

Spider silk is extremely strong but is difficult to have a farm for the commercial production of spider silk, as the arachnids do not produce enough and also have a tendency to eat each other.

Silkworms, however, are easy to farm and produce vast amounts of silk, but the material is fragile.

The new method transplants spider genes into silkworms so they can produce large amounts of spider silk alongside their own.