By LYNN DeBRUIN
SALT LAKE CITY — A bio-art project to create bulletproof skin has given a Utah State researcher even more hope his genetically engineered spider silk can be used to help surgeons heal large wounds and create artificial tendons and ligaments.
Researcher Randy Lewis and his collaborators gained worldwide attention recently when they found a commercially viable way to manufacture silk fibers using goats and silkworms that had spider genes inserted into their makeup.
Spider silk is one of the strongest fibers known and five times stronger than steel. Lewis’ fibers are not that strong but much stronger than silk spun by ordinary worms.