Transgenic silk to make bullet-proof skin


Often at odds, an artist and a scientist could be on the verge of making an incredible discovery. Dutch artist Jalila Essaidi and Utah State researcher Randy Lewis have collaborated and come up with a bulletproof, skin-like material made from silk threads produced by a genetically modified silk worm. The goal would be to someday create synthetic human skin with artificial tendons and ligaments.

“Luckily for me I found an article in Science about Randy Lewis and his team about how they succeeded in isolating the spidersilk producing genes of two spiders and embedded them in the genome of a goat. Creating a goat that produces in addition to her normal milk also significant quantities of the spidersilk protein. He also made a press release more recently that he pulled off the same trick with transgenic silkworms, who now produce spidersilk instead of normal silk.”

Read about Essaidi’s ‘New silk road’, the story behind the silk used for the DA4GA (Designers & Artists 4 Genomics Award) project: 2.6g 329m/s aka Bulletproof-skin.

(Links:,, Photo of Silk worm by Jo Naylor, some rights reserved)

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