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5-Animals: China implants spider genes into silkworms



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TITLE:  China implants spider genes into silkworms
SOURCE: Daily Telegraph, UK, by David Rennie
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=003793247728944&rtmo=
        VDgrsJ3K&atmo=rrrrrrrq&pg=/et/00/11/8/wsilk08.html
DATE:   November 8, 2000

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


China implants spider genes into silkworms

links to:
Shanghai Institute for Biochemistry - Chinese Academy of Sciences
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Genetic engineering - Greenpeace

THE centuries-old silk industry faces a revolution after Chinese genetic 
engineers said yesterday that they had successfully implanted spider genes 
into silkworms. Mass-produced spider-strength silk could be used in bullet-
proof jackets and parachutes as well as for ordinary clothes, scientists in 
Shanghai said. Dr Lu Changde, of the Chinese Academy of Science's Shanghai 
Institute for Biochemistry, said his team had succeeded in producing silk 
containing spider genes after four years' work, though the resulting silk 
still required fine tuning. He said: "We have successfully implanted the 
gene that makes spider silk viscous into the fertilised eggs of silkworms. 
There are still many difficulties to overcome, but we have solved the most 
difficult problem." The scientists still have to prevent the silk from 
turning yellow and to make it strong yet soft enough to wear. Teams 
elsewhere in China - which has embraced genetic engineering with enthusiasm 
and few restrictions - last year boasted that they had placed rabbit genes 
in cotton plants, producing cotton fibres "as soft as rabbit hair".

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