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LATEST UPDATES » Vol 22, No 09, September 2018 – Doctor Robot - The digital healthcare revolution       » Gene helps rice adapt to colder climates       » 'Longevity protein' found effective in primates       » Korean beef inhibits proliferation of colorectal cancer cells       » First 3D printed human corneas       » Zombie gene protects against cancer in elephants      
EYE ON CHINA
Transgenic silkworms to produce spider silk
Research could help future large-scale production of spider silk protein with genetically-modified silkworms and provide insights on new biomaterials

Chinese scientists have used gene-editing techniques to make silkworms produce spider silk, and have achieved efficient yields compared with earlier attempts.

Spider silk is one of the strongest and toughest natural fibers and has superior mechanical properties. However, it is difficult to harvest spider silk in large quantities by raising spiders due to their territorial and cannibalistic behaviors.

Because silk fibroin and spider silk protein have certain similarities in structure, it was expected that genetically-modified silkworms might be able to produce spider silk fibers. Previous attempts had been made to introduce spider silk genes into silkworms, but the silkworms failed to produce spider silk proteins efficiently.

Scientists from the Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences at the Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences reported a targeted gene replacement system in silkworms to make them produce spider silk with high efficiency. Testing showed that about 35 percent of the resulting silk was composed of the spider silk proteins, much higher than previously reported transgenic methods, which were only able to achieve approximately 0.3 to 3 percent.

The research provides a basis for the large-scale production of spider silk protein with genetically-modified silkworms, and this approach will shed light on developing new biomaterials, according to the research team.

The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Source: Xinhua

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PR NEWSWIRE  
Asia Pacific Biotech News
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APBN Editorial Calendar 2018
January:
Obesity / Outlook for 2018
February:
Searching for the fountain of youth
March:
Women in Science - Making a difference
April:
Digestive health in the 21st century - Trust your guts
May:
Dental health - The root to good health
June:
Cancer - Therapies and strategies for better patient outcomes
July:
Water management - Technologies for biotech and pharmaceutical industries
August:
Regenerative technology - Meat of the future
September:
Doctor Robot - The digital healthcare revolution
October:
Bones / Breast cancer
November:
Liver health / Top science research nations & institutions
December:
AIDS / Breakthrough of the year/Emerging trends
Editorial calendar is subjected to changes.
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