Sigma, Kraig Team To Produce Spider Silk Using Silkworms
Sigma Life Science — the biological products and services research business of St. Louis-based
Sigma-Aldrich Corp. — and Kraig Biocraft Laboratories Inc., Lansing, Mich. — a developer of
recombinant technologies and fibers — have signed a licensing agreement under which Kraig will use
Sigma's CompoZr® Zinc Finger Nuclease (ZFN) technology to transfer spider silk genes to silkworms,
with the goal of commercializing spider silk production. Silk from spiders has been shown to have
greater tensile strength and elasticity than silk from silkworms. Potential applications include
sutures and other biomedical products, bulletproof vests, and automobile airbags.
"Sigma-Aldrich's proprietary zinc finger technologies are extremely powerful tools which enable very precise genetic targeting," said Kim Thompson, CEO, Kraig Biocraft. "We believe that ... the technology will enable us to rapidly and precisely target specific gene sequences for the creation of stronger fibers, advanced textiles and new bio-materials."