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June 22 2013

GM silkworms bred to spin fluorescent


Scientists in Japan have genetically engineered silkworms to create red, green or orange silks that glow under fluorescent lights.

The silkworm is the larval form of the domesticated silkmoth (Bombyx mori) and is one of only two insects domesticated by humans (the other being the bee). The larvae build a cocoon around themselves in which to pupate, and each cocoon is made from a fine protein thread of silk up to 900 meters in length. Silk is made by harvesting the cocoons (with larvae inside) and softening them so the threads can be reeled. Around 6,000 cocoons are needed to make a kilogram of silk. Normal silk is a soft, white thread.

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