Spider silk is one of the strongest materials found in the natural world. Scientists have been studying spider silk for decades, not just because of its strength, but because it combines strength with elasticity. Usually, man-made materials are either or, stiff or elastic, but rarely both. Spider silk has both of these qualities. Research scientist Pezhman Mohammadi from The Centre of Young Synbio Scientists at VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, has worked for several years with biosynthetic spider silk.
This man-made silk protein is not made by spiders. Not only are spiders relatively unproductive, they also are famously territorial and aggressive towards each other which makes their silk nearly impossible to harvest. By using the tools of synthetic biology, the silk producing gene can be transferred into a more suitable production host such as a bacteria or fungi.