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Trends Biotechnol. 2000 Sep;18(9):374-9.

Synthetic spider silk: a modular fiber.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, University of Wyoming, University Station, Box 3944, Laramie, WY 82071, USA.


Spiders make their webs and perform a wide range of tasks with up to seven different types of silk fiber. These different fibers allow a comparison of structure with function, because each silk has distinct mechanical properties and is composed of peptide modules that confer those properties. By using genetic engineering to mix the modules in specific proportions, proteins with defined strength and elasticity can be designed, which have many potential medical and engineering uses.

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