Biotech Updates

Scientists Engineer Silkworms to Produce Glowing Silk Fabric

June 26, 2013

Tetsuya Iizuka of the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences and other Japanese scientists genetically engineered silkworms to produce colored glowing silks. This has been used by Japanese designer Yumi Katsura in a wedding gown and is starting to become a fad in the textile industry.

Iizuka and team inserted fluorescent proteins from corals and jellyfish into the silkworm genome near the gene for the silk protein fibroin. Then they produced 20,000 GE silkworms which had fibroin proteins linked with fluorescent molecules and collected their cocoons. The results of their study has been published in the June issue of Advanced Functional Materials journal.

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