7. Mutant Science

Oct-08-2010 | Comments Off

Bird’s Eye: Science marches into the future, seeming at times to do so like some ancient episode from Monster Chiller Horror Theatre. This week cutting-edge science splices spider genes into silkworms (with florescent glowing red eyes), produces a new form of food (you get to guess what it is), produces giant razor-clawed clams (but they’re perfectly safe). As a bonus, we offer an all-purpose story about a new scientific development: plug in your issue, and become an online science columnist yourself.

* Mutant Worms Produce Piles of Spider Silk Wired

Scientists have tried to pull spider silk from tobacco plants, bacteria and even goats, with mixed success. Silkworms, on the other hand, are natural silk-spinning factories. A worm’s silk gland takes up about a third of its entire body, Fraser said, and a single cocoon can yield a thread up to a mile long. Silkworms have been domesticated for centuries and are already used for making mass quantities of marketable silk. By inserting specific spider genes into silkworm chromosomes, Fraser and his colleagues grew a colony of caterpillars that produce threads nearly as strong as spider silk….Not all the embryos ended up expressing the spider DNA, however. To make sure they knew which worms were transgenic, the researchers attached a gene for red fluorescent protein to the spider DNA, ensuring all the mutants had glowing red eyes. The researchers then bred those caterpillars to raise a stable colony of spider-silk-spinning silkworms.

* Experts Agree Giant, Razor-Clawed Bioengineered Crabs Pose No Threat The Onion

* Guess What’s in The Picture [Foodlike Substance]

A) Strawberry ice cream

B) Chicken

C) Plastic foam

D) None of the above

* This Is A News Website Article About A Scientific Finding Martin Robbins  The Guardian

In the standfirst I will make a fairly obvious pun about the subject matter before posing an inane question I have no intention of really answering: is this an important scientific finding?

In this paragraph I will state the main claim that the research makes, making appropriate use of “scare quotes” to ensure that it’s clear that I have no opinion about this research whatsoever.

In this paragraph I will briefly (because no paragraph should be more than one line) state which existing scientific ideas this new research “challenges”.







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