Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, Inc. (KBLB:OB), a biotechnology development company based in Lansing, Michigan, has spent the last 6 months running up an impressive number of achievements in its pursuit of commercially viable spider silk.
The company is using genetic engineering to coax silkworms into producing spider silk, one of natureâ€™s strongest fibers. To do this, scientists had to come up with a way to successfully insert into silkworms the DNA packets containing the unique gene sequence used by spiders to produce silk. Since Kraig Biocraft first obtained the right to use the spider silk gene sequence in this particular field of research, they have surprised many with the progress theyâ€™ve made in the endeavor.
Most recently, the company announced that scientists working in the companyâ€™s research program at the University of Notre Dame have accomplished substantial increases in the successful insertion of DNA packets. Theyâ€™ve increased both the number and proportion of insertions, which have been verified by the use of special targeted marker proteins. As their success with insertions increases, so does their chance of developing a viable polymer.
Kim Thompson, Kraig CEO, commented on the recent accomplishments. â€œThese results, which are occurring in the latest generation of genetic insertions performed in the laboratory, are very exciting, and we believe that it is further evidence that the research team is on the right track.â€ He went on to add, â€œThis is the first time we have seen the number of DNA insertions yielding transient expression reach the triple digits. We do seem to be in a state of acceleration in terms of the pace of laboratory achievement.â€
Spider silk is much stronger than steel by weight, and has a tremendous ability to absorb and dissipate energy. Spiders, being cannibalistic, are not good prospects for a commercial production environment, but silkworms are. Kraig Biocraftâ€™s plan to effectively combine the best from both worlds holds the promise of at last solving the problem of mass scale spider silk production.
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