Spider-goat, spider-goat…

A question from a colleague today brought this one up. It just goes to show, sometimes truth is nearly as strange as fiction. My first instinct when reading this is “urban legend”:

I never would have believed it unless I had read it myself. Scientists have successfully genetically altered a goats embryo with the DNA of a spider. These genetically altered goats produced (mutated) in a laboratory are presently producing milk that is being used to make bullet-proof vests. The fibers contained in the spider goat’s milk are twice as strong as Kevlar!!! Can you imagine?

Everything screams gullible repetition of nonsense, from the URL to the style sheet to the use of multiple exclamation marks. But, source aside, it turns out this one actually true. Published in Science (Lazaris et al., 2002-01-18. Science. Vol. 295:472-476), developed at a company backed by the Canadian Department of National Defense, registered trademark… yep, these are all the clues that what we have here is a real product, and what distinguishes it from similar outlandish claims.

Nexia Biotechnology’s product BioSteelĀ® has serious commercial, military and medical applications, and there is still a lot of work to be done in perfecting the process of creating actual material from the fibers once extracted from the milk. But it is certainly not a hoax.

Next, I think they should focus their keen genetic engineering on creating the spider-pig!


17 Responses to “Spider-goat, spider-goat…”

  1. residentRsole Says:

    Yup, I remember this on the news years ago. They also mentioned that they wanted to re-open all those closed down textile factories in the US in order to make products based on this technology.

    Now, if British Titanium (FFC Cambridge process) could finally get their facilities going, we will have amazing new products available in the next few years.

  2. Con-Tester Says:

    Fascinating stuff!

    The cheese made from such milk would play havoc with your pizza, though. You wouldn’t be able to bite the stringy bits off.

    Now they should hurry up and genetically cross-engineer a State President with a hawk. Then maybe we’d get one who can see what s/he’s doing.

  3. Paul Putter Says:

    Yup, I would have laughed this one off the stage too. Weird… Eight-legged pigs could produce a lot of bacon, but will they be able to catch them?

  4. Man, genetic engineers have the worlds coolest leggo ste to play with. Pitty they have the worlds most strictest parents.

  5. Man, genetic engineers have the worlds coolest leego set. Pity they also have the worlds strictest parents.

  6. The genetically modified goats are cool

    The end-of-the-world, mad-scientists-playing-gord crap is ridiculous, yet annoying.

  7. babyacid Says:

    For the current level of technology, yes. But one can only hope we do something really really cool with it, if and when it is no longer this weird taboo subject.

  8. Dunno if you know the website Quackwatch but I found this article quite funny:
    Seven warning signs of bogus science – http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/signs.html

  9. I’m waiting for the DNA to mutate to the point of making those goats venomous.

  10. wow you will be able to drink your bullet proof vest

  11. nev and woody Says:

    that is well cool

  12. nev and woody Says:

    no one likes brad

  13. nev and woody Says:

    i can see u

  14. we all know

  15. nev and woody Says:

    know wot

  16. that no one likes brad :S

  17. his mam is gud

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