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Insert a Single Spider Gene into a Female Goat. Milk Regularly. Got Silk.

Amber Waves Pygmy Goats Horse Mix

Posted by Mary on June 25, 2002 at 17:08:49:

Yep, this is the title of an article that a friend gave to me from the NY Times Magazine, dated June 16, 2002. She knows I'm a "goat person" and thought I would find it interesting. I tried to find it on the web, as they say that all of their articles are on their site www.nytimes.com/magazine, but I couldn't locate it. Maybe some of you guys more experienced in the computer world could find it, as I would love everyone to be able to read it. I found it a little alarming. I will try and explain it in a nutshell. It seems that a company called Nexia Biotechnologies has started a "transgenic farm"-a place where animal species are either cloned or genetically mixed to create medically useful substances. The farm is located in Quebec. Nexia scientists are pursuing a bizarre experiment. They are taking a single gene from a golden orb-weaving spider and putting it into a goat egg. The idea is to make the goat secrete spider silk into it's milk. Apparently spider silk is practically the world's strongest material. This company plans to use the silk for fishing lines, tennis racket strings, and the company claims that the pentagon is working with Nexia to develop a prototype of a new kind of vest that might be made entirely out of goat silk to use as body armour(bullet proof). A number of different species are being tested for the spider-gene project. Nubians, saanens, and now West African Dwarf goats. They are using the dwarf goat because they're sexually active all year around. They start breeding these little goats at 3 months of age! Apparently the baby goat will have a spider gene present in each of its cells, but only in the mammary glands of female goats will the silk gene actually spring to life. The goat will eventually start lactating a kind of silk-milk mixture. They have developed a means of seperating the silk from the milk, and spinning it, etc., until the end product is the silk. Anyway, the article goes on to explain everything more specifically, but I don't want to go on forever. You get the idea. This whole thing makes my skin crawl. It reminds me of some freaky movie. What are your feelings on this??
~Mary


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