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Fraser Research Publicly Announced at Press Conference

Malcolm Fraser

 

On Wednesday, a research and development effort by Malcolm Fraser, professor of biological sciences, Randy Lewis from the University of Wyoming, and Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, Inc. was publicly announced to the media after the group had succeeded in producing transgenic silkworms capable of spinning artificial spider silks.

“This research represents a significant breakthrough in the development of superior silk fibers for both medical and non-medical applications,” said Malcolm J. Fraser Jr., a Notre Dame professor of biological sciences. “The generation of silk fibers having the properties of spider silks has been one of the important goals in materials science.”


Natural spider silks have a number of unusual mature silkworm just before spinningphysical properties, including significantly higher tensile strength and elasticity than naturally spun silkworm fibers. The artificial spider silks produced in these transgenic silkworms have similar properties of strength and flexibility to native spider silk.
Silk fibers have many current and possible future biomedical applications, such as use as fine suture materials, improved wound healing bandages, or natural scaffolds for tendon and ligament repair or replacement. Spider silk-like fibers may also have applications beyond biomedical uses, such as in bulletproof vests, strong and lightweight structural fabrics, a new generation athletic clothing and improved automobile airbags.

Fraser, with the assistance of University of Wyoming researcher Randy Lewis, a biochemist who is one of the world’s foremost authorities on spider silk, and Don Jarvis, a noted molecular geneticist who specializes in insect protein production, genetically engineered silkworms in which they incorporated specific DNAs taken from spiders. When these transgenic silkworms spin their cocoons, the silk produced is not ordinary silkworm silk, but, rather, a combination of silkworm silk and spider silk. The genetically engineered silk protein produced by the transgenic silkworms has markedly improved elasticity and strength approaching that of native spider silk.

View the press conference video

glowing silkgland

The news has appeared in the following media:

 

How Modified Worms and Goats Can Mass-Produce Nature's Toughest Fiber
Popular Science
Last week, Lewis and Malcolm Fraser at the University of Notre Dame announced they bred silkworms that had been genetically engineered to produce spider silk.

Company news
Indianapolis Business Journal
Researchers at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Wyoming have genetically engineered silkworms to produce artificial spider silk in quantities large enough to be commercially viable.


Transgenic Silkworms Can Produce Stronger Silk
Softpedia
“We can make a lot more silk from the silkworm process than you could possibly make from spiders, explains Malcolm Fraser, who holds an appointment as a molecular biologist at the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana.

Mutant Worms Produce Piles of Spider Silk
Wired News (blog)
“We can make a lot more silk from the silkworm process than you could possibly make from spiders,” said molecular biologist Malcolm Fraser of the University of Notre Dame.

Scientists genetically engineer silkworms to produce superior spider silks
Louisville Courier-Journal
A research and development effort by the University of Notre Dame, the University of Wyoming, and Kraig Biocraft Laboratories Inc. has succeeded in producing transgenic silkworms capable of spinning artificial spider silks.

Researchers: Silkworms make artificial spider silk
BusinessWeek
Malcolm Fraser Jr., a University of Notre Dame professor of biological sciences, called the development significant because it could allow for widespread production of spider silk-like thread, something scientists have long pursued because it is strong and flexible and has many uses.

Silkworms produce artificial spider silk at ND
Associated Press/Chicago Tribune
University of Notre Dame biology professor Malcolm Fraser Jr. says the development is significant because it will allow for widespread commercial use of spider silk.

Engineering Hybrid Silks
ScienceBlogs (blog)
There was some big news yesterday in transgenic silk from Notre Dame and the University of Wyoming, where scientists have genetically engineered silkworms to produce silk that is a mixture of spider silk and the regular silkworm stuff.

Notre Dame announces research breakthrough in genetically altered 'threads'
South Bend Tribune
Tiny, genetically altered silkworms in a laboratory at the University of Notre Dame are spinning a novel thread of artificially created spider silk. The strand is stronger, finer and more elastic than naturally spun silkworm fibers.

A spin on silk: scientific breakthrough in a Notre Dame lab
WNDU-TV
Creepy, crawling creatures may be changing what you wear, how you protect yourself and even your next trip to the doctor’s office. Notre Dame scientists have combined the best attributes from worms and spiders, making a lot of high quality silk.

Notre Dame project creates new silk
WSBT-TV
A scientific breakthrough is paving the way for new uses of silk. A Notre Dame scientist, in a joint effort with the University of Wyoming and Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, has succeeded in creating transgenic silkworms capable of spinning artificial spider silks.

Silkworm gene swap leads to creation of super-strong web
Calgary Herald
Research by Notre Dame University biology professor Malcolm Fraser, University of Wyoming biochemist Randy Lewis and Kraig Biocraft Laboratories Inc. published Wednesday outlines the process that can be used for industrial production of fibres that were produced in tiny quantities

Genetically engineering silkworms to make artificial spider silk
SmartPlanet.com
“This research represents a significant breakthrough in the development of superior silk fibers for both medical and non-medical applications,” Notre Dame professor Malcolm J. Fraser Jr. said in a statement.

Silkworms make strong after web swap: study
Geo TV
"This research represents a significant breakthrough in the development of superior silk fibers for both medical and non-medical applications," said Malcolm Fraser, professor of biological sciences at Notre Dame University who worked with University of Wyoming biochemist Randy Lewis and Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, Inc. on the project.

Notre Dame announces breakthrough in bio-engineering
Fox 28
Scientists from the University of Notre Dame made a big announcement Wednesday. After years of work, scientists at the University say they are now able to genetically engineer silkworms to produce artificial spider silk.

Notre Dame announces research breakthrough in genetically altered 'threads'
South Bend Tribune
Tiny, genetically altered silkworms in a laboratory at the University of Notre Dame are spinning a novel thread of artificially created spider silk.

10/1/2010

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