Monday, June 11, 2012

Hitting a Milestone

At Utah State University, USTAR teams have reached new milestones by working together on genomic research projects resulting in two sets of transgenic twin goats. Double the research—double the fun.

USTAR at Utah State University was designed, in part, to foster collaboration between USTAR faculty and core university faculty to build on established university research areas of strength.

Two USTAR teams, represented by Randy Lewis, of the Synthetic BioManufacturing Institute, and Irina Polejaeva, of Veterinary Diagnostics and Infectious Diseases, worked together to design the goats using genomics technology. Both sets of twin were created with different proof of concept milestones in mind.

Lewis, a member of the Synthetic BioManufacturing Institute at USU, uses transgenic goats to produce milk with spider silk proteins. The proteins are purified and spun into fibers that can be used to create technical fabrics as well as artificial ligaments and tendons. Stronger than Kevlar and more flexible than nylon, Lewis’s spider silk has been used to craft a bullet resistant skin and can be used to create a next generation solution for parachute cords.

Lewis selected his best spider silk milk producer, Daisy, gave her skin cells to the VDID team and ask them to create the first set of cloned spider goat twins born at Utah State University. “Because we need large quantities of milk to get large quantities of silk, it makes sense to copy our best producer,” said Lewis." Utah Pulse