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Bullet-proof vests are typically made of Kevlar, but they will not stop high energy, small caliber, and large caliber rounds from killing the wearer of the vest. But a new alternative has been found. Spider silk is tougher than Kevlar and three times as light, making it ideal for use as body armor. A vest made of spider silk would also be much more elastic and flexible, allowing the soldier or law enforcement officer a wider range of movement and more comfort. But the problem of how to mass produce spider silk arose, so the University of Wyoming has been doing research since 1989 involving the genes and proteins that make up spider silk. After isolating the chemical makeup, scientists, who were working with Canada-based Nexia Biotechnology, then spliced the genes into goats, so they produced the needed proteins in their milk. They are still looking for a way to produce more of these proteins since it takes one day's worth of goat milk to make one five pound vest. Because of this, scientists are now attempting to splice the genes into alfalfa, which grows well in many areas. If they become successful than spider silk vests will become a cost effective alternative to the bulky Kevlar used now.

Many have found this to be morally wrong, messing with goats and spiders and all other things of the like, but if successful, this technology can save lives. Hoorah for saving lives!


References: http://www.laramieboomerang.com/news/more.asp?StoryID=100515

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