Article and accompanying 13 minute video featuring a researcher who studies the biology of spider silks to develop high-tech fibers.

Edit Hook

Five times tougher than steel, spider silk is virtually indestructible. Labs in Britain, Germany and America claim to be on the verge of unlocking the secret of this super material, but what spiders do naturally is proving to be a tough act to follow on a commercial scale.

This fascinating article and video could be used to start a class discussion about the difference between biomimicry (mimicking the chemical recipe and the spider’s method for producing the silk) and bio-utilization (genetically engineering a goat to make silk or growing bacteria to create the silk). At the end of the article there is a helpful graphic showing the silk glands and their various functions.

Edit Summary