“Spider-goats” & other wonders

Spiders produce silk and goats make milk. That’s hard to argue with. What if I told you that there is a tool to change it, what if I told you that in Utah, USA, there are goats that produce spider silk?

Photo by Klari Reis
Photo by Klari Reis

The tool which enables this inter-species “fusion” is a fairly new field of science, called synthetic biology. First time the term “synthetic biology” was mentioned in 1970s. You might think it’s something weird and “alien”. However, it’s much closer to you than you think. Let’s begin our journey through the “synthetic” world with insulin. Over 70% of the world’s insulin supply is produced by E.coli bacteria. It used to be extracted from pigs, but it was “messy” and inefficient. Then scientists thought, if only they could put a gene coding for human insulin into something that produces it rapidly and makes it easy to use… Turns out, they could! Continue reading