Nexia Biotechnologies Inc. is the company. BioSteel is the product and corporate representatives claim it to be ten times stronger than steel, which could have obvious military and cosmetics applications as a replacement for Kevlar, which goes into everything from body armor to lipstick. Medical, industrial and space applications are also being dreamed up Head office located in an industrial park on the outskirts of Ste. Anne de Bellevue, on the western tip of the Island of Montreal. They use modified goat mammary cells to generate small quantities of milk containing the vital silk protein. The next step is a complete goat.

As to the propriety of such experimentation, hamsterbong's already pretty much right on- its the manipulation of animal life as a cost-cutting measure and industrial shortcut. Genetic engineering may be wildly profitable (after all the world-wide prescription drug industry surpasses even computer hardware in sales) but this seems like a dreadfully slippery slope. See also : Genetic Engineering, and How We Can Survive or Does the pace of technology outpace our ability to use it for good? nodes.

Other companies developing along this line:

  • PPL Therapeutics of Scotland. Growing sheep that secrete a drug called antitrypsin -- used to treat cystic fibrosis -- in their milk.
  • Cambridge, Mass.-based Genzyme Transgenics Corp. Manufactures goats whose milk contains antithrombin III, a protein that breaks down blood clots.
  • Dutch company Pharming Inc. has created a breed of cows that produces lactoferrin, another human protein used for treating infection.
  • U.S. military-venture Soldier Biological and Chemical Command in Natick, Mass. Experimented with recombinant bacteria.

Source : Their spiders have horns : Nexia Biotechnologies describes its quest to develop transgenic goats that produce spider silk as 'the holy grail of the materials industry' National Post. Saturday, June 17, 2000