Humans it was impossible, and that they are just

Humans have been using spider silk for many different products for many decades, starting from the ancient greeks where they used spider silk to close off wounds during wars, to our current day society where it is used to make durable products (Applications of Spider Silk). These products include parachutes, bandages, nets, bulletproof vests, ropes and many more. However it is proven difficult to farm spider silk, one of the main factors preventing mass production of spider silk possible is that these spiders are cannibalisms, meaning that if they are within proximity of each other, they would end up killing each other (Spider Sense: Fast Facts on Extreme Arachnids, National Geographic). Separating spiders into different compartments wouldn’t financially beneficial and isn’t efficient, which is why it prevents us from easily obtaining spider silk. Additionally, because spiders don’t produce a lot of their silk, it would require a large amount of spiders to fulfil the current demand for spider silk to use in everyday products. Researchers need to experiment with different and creative ways to produce spider silk without causing them to kill each other and at a low cost. Many researchers claimed that it was impossible, and that they are just wasting their time trying to develop something this absurd. However recent discoveries regarding extreme crossbreeding and genetic engineering might have made mass production of Spider Silk possible.A Canadian Biotechnology company Nexia has managed to produce Spider Silk protein through goat milk (Nexia and US Army spin the world’s first man-Made spider silk performance fibers, EurekAlert). The method to achieve this is quite simple, genes are first extracted from spiders such as the Golden Silk Orb-Weaver, and transferred to the female goats embryos. According to a professor of molecular biology at the University of Wyoming, Randy Lewis, “you take out the nucleus and chromosomes, then put in the chromosomes from the cell you did all the genetic manipulation in.” When these female goats give birth, the baby goats will contain the genes of the Golden Orb spider, and at this point it is pretty much a Spider-Goat. When the new generation of goats start to produce milk, the genes would alert the goat to produce spider silk protein instead of what it normally produces (Genetically engineered spider goats could be biotechnology’s next big hit, Business Insider). The milk will then be extracted for its silk and used in products such as fishing lines, surgical structures, cables etc. While the goats are able to produce spider silk protein through their milk, it doesn’t affect the goats in any other way, you wouldn’t be able to identify between a spider goat and a normal goat from appearance. Goats were chosen to carry the spider gene because unlike the Golden Orb spider, they aren’t cannibalistic and can easily be tamed. This would make the farming process of their milk a lot more easier and production rate for spider silk proteins would be a lot more efficient. One of the changes that this development in genetic modification brought was military equipment, more specifically bulletproof vest. The spider silk is six times than steel which is why it is the most suitable material to replace the steel plate in bulletproof vests as it is a lot lighter. It can also be used for wound healing as the antibiotics it releases helps recover from infections and injuries. In December 2015, the military and the Utah State University signed a contract of one million dollars where they would produce the silk for military use (Utah State lands contract with Army to produce spider silk, Standard-Examiner). This relates to the economic factor as it shows potential development of this product and is helping the economy grow. A further development that Lewis has made along with scientist in Holland, is that they were able to use skin cells and spider silk to create bullet proof skin, which would greatly advance the technology that the army would have access to, linking to the technological factor with a positive impact (Bulletproof skin made from spider silk proteins and human skin cells, Designboom). Since the silk is biodegradable, it means that it entering the body wouldn’t cause much harm. It being able to sustain in extreme temperatures also makes it the perfect candidate for materials that are used in surgery, more specifically stitches. They could be stretched up to 20% before breaking, which would allow the client under surgery to be have more flexibility in their daily life without risk of the stitches breaking (Spider silk could be used for surgical stitching, new scientist). While the benefits that genetically modified goats brings are endless, there are quite a few limitations that are of concern regarding it. Firstly, the silk that the goats produce are only 30% of the actual strength from real Golden Orb spiders, this causes some complications as there will be specific products that it can’t be used in. Throughout history, genetically modified animals usually have poor health and lifespans, there simply isn’t enough research that has been conducted on genetically modified goats to prove that it doesn’t effect the goats at all (The Pros and Cons of Genetically Modified Organisms, Labmate Online). Just because their appearance are similar to normal goats, doesn’t mean that physiologically and biochemically they are the same. These new discoveries usually have drawbacks, we can’t be certain that these goats are normal, and perhaps the harmful chemicals they release are still unknown to us and to be discovered. If we were to consume these goats as their population continues to increase, those unknown organisms could potentially harm our human cells. After comparing the benefits and limitations for genetically modified goats which produce spider silk protein, I believe that the benefits outweighs the limitations, and that it greatly enhances our economic and technological factors. Ever since the genetically modified goats were crossbreed, there has never been any scientific proof that shows it has a negative impact. These goats are currently on their ninth generation, and not one goat has shown any symptoms of irregularity. While there hasn’t been enough research conducted on these goats and that it is best recommended for a further investigation to be completed, all the evidence from previous experiments on the GM goats prove that they are safe to use, and until this claim has been debunked, I believe we should continue to take advantage of the benefits it brings.  


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