Home > Lifestyle > Features
Wednesday May 14, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday May 14, 2014 MYT 9:28:41 AM
SCIENTISTS published the first spider genome last week, helping the quest to uncover secrets which could lead to smarter insecticides and man-made super-strong spider silk.
Bio-researchers led by Trine Bilde at Denmark’s Aarhus University unravelled the DNA sequence of the tarantula and the African social velvet spider, each representing the two main groups of spiders.
The tarantula – which is infamous despite having a bite that is only as painful as a bee sting – is a so-called mygalomorph, meaning a ground-dwelling spider that lurks in wait for its prey.
The social velvet spider is an araneomorph, part of a group of spiders that have diversified to exploit a wide range of habitats above ground, where they live in communities and weave sophisticated webs to snare flying insects.
Spiders are a source of fascination for biologists, as they combine survival skills with great efficiency.
At a minimum cost in energy, they can catch prey as massive as seven times their own body weight.
Chemists, though, see spiders somewhat differently. They hope to replicate spider silk, a complex protein many times stronger than steel or kevlar, and to use neurotoxins in spider venom, which kill specific insects, as the basis for greener, more selective pesticides.
The genomes, published in the journal Nature Communications, offer the fullest picture yet of the genes that are involved in these coveted processes, said researcher Jesper Bechsgaard.
“For the venom proteins, we provide more diversity that potentially could be used for specific targets,” he said.
“For the silk proteins, we provide many complete sequences of different silk types that potentially could be helpful for others that do research on expressing silk in, for example, bacterial cells.” – AFP
Tags / Keywords:
Science Technology, Science, biology, genetics, spider genome, spider silk, DNA sequence, tarantula, African social velvet spider
Need for Science Act
Penang hosts two-day sports science forum for coaches and educators
Joining forces for future of visual effects
Forging stronger relationships
So Social: Dealing with negativity
Negotiators honoured at annual National Real Estate Awards
A touch of elegance and glamour
Test your knowledge on palm oil
Resort in Lumut makes for a great weekend getaway
Winding your way to safety
Society launches project to easily identify neutered animals
Application to strike out suit by sacked Umno member to be heard next month
Fingerprint Cards ups 2015 sales forecast on phone sensor demand
Wider room for local guides
Copyright © 1995-2015 Star Media Group Berhad (ROC 10894D)(Formerly known as Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad)