Mimicking how spiders make their complex array of silks could usher in a tapestry of new materials, and other animals or plants could be designed to be the producers

By Rachel Ehrenberg, 07:59 AM November 6, 2008

Peter Parker is lucky he was bitten by a spider and not a silkworm. Not only does “Spider-Man” have way more superhero panache than “Silkworm-Man,” but of all the silks made by various creatures, spider silk is the standout. Exceedingly strong, yet elastic and lightweight, spider silks are ideal for a range of materials, from bulletproof vests to scaffolding for growing cartilage.

Scientists are coming closer to unraveling spiders’ secrets with the hope of producing piles of the fiber to put t...

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