Spider Silk is one of the most unique fibers produced in the natural world. Its mechanical properties are unparalleled and have the potential to revolutionize industries around the globe. However creating this silk as it exists in nature, is difficult. Due to inability to farm orb weaving spiders that produce silk, other hosts must be inserted. This is the point of emphasis at the Spider Silk Research lab at the BioInnovations Center at Utah State University. Hosts that are currently being researched are; Silkworms, E Coli, Alfalfa, and Goats. Each of these hosts is unique in its ability to produce silk products similar to the spiders, and these differences present strengths and weakness that are the focus of the experimentation process. I have been fortunate enough this semester to work with graduate student Micheala Hugie on the Alfalfa host. Alfalfa has already proven its ability to produce Spider Silk, however our goal is to produce a larger protein that would be similar to and produce the properties of natural spider silk.
Worley, Josh, "The Alfalfa Project" (2017). Biology Posters. Paper 169.