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Spidergoats

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the pasteurized-and-homogenized dept.

News 387

LandlessGentry writes: "Market Oriented Genetic Manipulation takes a turn for the surreal as two Nigerian dwarf goats named Mille and Muscade have had their genes altered (or more precisely the genes of their parents) so their mammary glands produce spider "silk". The story is here on Forbes.com."

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387 comments

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Re:for those of you who will not read the article: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#444784)

...silk does not just come shooting out of their tits...

someday, man, someday.

that's odd... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#444785)

because I live in Plattsburg, NY, and just the other day I saw a giant web riddled with nothing but tin cans.

Re:I feel ill (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#444786)

I am sick to. The Republicans (and Christian right) need to stop trying to regulate everything and let the orld move forward from their antiquitated bullshit. Industrial hemp is *not* a crime. Fuck Ashcroft's DEA. And women can do what ever the hell they want to with their bodies. The Christian right does not own a woman's body & John Ashcroft is a racist fuck who will continue to promote the racial motivated anti-drug laws of our (used to be) wonderful country. While George Bush hides his cocaine use (youthful indiscretion my ass), drunk driving arrest, and former girlfriend's abortion. Did we mention Laura Bush ran a stop sign and killed a kid?

read more about it at (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#444790)

spidergoatse.cx

Re:Alternate story title... (1)

Ranger Rick (197) | more than 13 years ago | (#444791)

+)

So is that some kind of genetically altered cyclops smiley face?

Brought to you by The People For Biclops Smiley Face Rights. =)


1st Law Of Networking: Loose ends are bad, termination is good.

Re:Thank you, Science (2)

Have Blue (616) | more than 13 years ago | (#444796)

Given: 1+1=2.
Prove: Differential calculus.

Science is about the little steps. How are we supposed to cure cancer when we barely even understand how it works? How are we supposed to colonize space whent he only country with any experience in that area is self-destructing as we speak?

The ability to arbitrarily insert and remove an animal's genes is an important step towards many important goals, such as the sickle-cell anemia you brought up.

Hey Moderators!!! (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 13 years ago | (#444802)

Mod this up. It deserves attention and responses!

Reminds me of the Simpsons... (5)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 13 years ago | (#444817)

The episode where Homer had the crayon in his brain which made him stupid removed. He just returned to "Screaming Monkey Research" and asked them to put it back in...

Scientist: "We don't play God here."

Homer: "Correction -- You do nothing _but_ play God, and I think you're Octo-parrot would agree."

Octo-parrot: "Rawk! Polly shouldn't be!"

Dupont (1)

jjr (6873) | more than 13 years ago | (#444819)

Dupont even has an Article [dupont.com] about spider's silk

Re:I feel ill (1)

demo (8301) | more than 13 years ago | (#444825)

The stepping stone argument usually bases on the fact that it's illegal. Crossing the border from legal to illegal drugs is a big step, but seems less so when it's jumping to a non-heavy drug.

Crossing the border from legal hemp/alcohol to a harder illegal drug would be harder to perform.

Re:for those of you who will not read the article: (2)

NatePuri (9870) | more than 13 years ago | (#444828)

Nobody knows the real truth. But I do. I'm have inside knowledge no one... no one could ever reveal but me.

The baby goats cannabalized the parent. Actually this is a good thing, because killing makes them strong.

There's nothing better than strong rope.

I don't think they'll ever succeed (4)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 13 years ago | (#444832)

There's a lot more to spiders silk than just a few proteins. Spider's silk actually arranges those proteins in rather complex ways. If it were just a matter of producing some proteins and seperating them from a mixture, you could genetically engineer bacteria to do it.

As for ethical concerns...

Numerous SF stories have dealt with all the horrors and benfits of genetic engineering. I can't say as I'm all that worried about it. There are a few concerns I'd have if we started genetically engineering humans, but, in general, I wouldn't even be against that. I don't understand what the problem is here.

Re:Alternate story title... (1)

Dfiant (13407) | more than 13 years ago | (#444848)

LOL, took the words right out of my mouth. +)

Re:read more about it at (1)

Pope Slackman (13727) | more than 13 years ago | (#444849)

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev

But what they have in their briefs is even more so.

--K

D'oh! They got it backwards! (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 13 years ago | (#444852)

I want spider milk!


---

Re:I feel ill (2)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 13 years ago | (#444853)

most studies have found hemp which you post so innocently, often is used as a stepping stone to higher drugs.

Yep, it all starts off innocently enough, but the next thing you know, people start making ropes and backbacks and yellow legal pads out of coca leaf fiber, and they'll design cars that run on poppy seed oil! It's just not worth the risk of legalizing industrial hemp.


---

Re:I feel ill (1)

Grond (15515) | more than 13 years ago | (#444855)

"So let me get this straight: Raising genetically altered mammals for industrial purposes is cool, but growing industrial hemp is a crime. Custom-designing living beings is all good, but ingesting RU486 in the first trimester is murder."

Actually, nobody said any of this is 'cool' or all good.' I imagine that many of the same groups that oppose hemp and abortion will undoubtedly oppose industrial transgenics. Sheesh, just because some small company has done it doesn't mean that it somehow gets a mandate from heaven. I imagine the anti-hemp and anti-abortion folks (or hell, much of anybody!) probably haven't even yet heard of Nexia.

Chill, man.

Science is ignoring global warming? (2)

apsmith (17989) | more than 13 years ago | (#444861)

It's the George Bush's, John Sununu's, and particularly Rush Limbaugh's of the world that are why we haven't done anything about global warming. Scientists have been worrying about global warming, and been ignored by politicians (and the media, and hence the public) for at least 30 years.

All of these issues (except maybe the Clippers) get ignored and their proponents squashed by a simple factor - how much money either industry or the US government sees fit to invest in the necessary R&D. And that in turn is very much determined by public and consumer interest in these things. If you feel they are important, get out there and evangelize! But don't blame "Science".

Wow.. (1)

Ruis (21357) | more than 13 years ago | (#444867)

Thanks to the whole genome thing, to create a freak, it's as easy as cut n' paste.

Re:What They Will Be Saying In Three Months... (1)

matth (22742) | more than 13 years ago | (#444869)

Better make sure you keep your goats seperate or we could have some problems. Uhhh, joe.. which one is the milk goat and which is the silk goat...

Re:Silky (1)

matth (22742) | more than 13 years ago | (#444870)

Don't proteins get filtered out in your body anyway? Although I suppose you'd be able to market this as an alternative to calcium . . .

Yup.. just think.. if you drink this stuff enough you'll eventually have this web clogging your intestines and stomache.. MMMM MMMM good!

Here's the link... (2)

spiral (42436) | more than 13 years ago | (#444889)

The company: Nexia Biotechnology [nexiabiotech.com]
The product: BioSteel [nexiabiotech.com]

Re:Destroying ourselves... same problem, new means (1)

MrP- (45616) | more than 13 years ago | (#444890)

"Someone please tell me I'm wrong..."

You're wrong :)

-----

Get used to it. We're in for a wild ride. (4)

xtal (49134) | more than 13 years ago | (#444892)

Before I start: All of this stuff is going to happen in the future, because if you Americans don't do it, us Canadians will, or the Europeans will, or the Japaneese, or the Chinese, or the Russians. Just because it doesn't fit into your morality doesn't mean much - welcome to globalization, and there isn't diddly you can do about it. All of my arguements follow from this point; You can debate this, but I see it as fact.

This is unrelated, but growing industrial hemp is a crime., but it's perfectly legal in Canada, about 40 miles north of the border. Take a stand on your government's international joke, er, war on drugs, or shut up and move. Listening to americans whine about the Wo(s)D when they all obediantly piss in a bottle to get a job is amusing.

Raising genetically altered mammals for industrial purposes is cool

You ain't seen nothing yet. I picked up a couple books on genetics at Chapters last weekend, just to see what's changed since the last time I took a biology couse (about 8 years ago, in high school). The amount of information being collected on how living organism works is absolutely incredible. People are beginning to apply lithographic techniques - commonly used to make chips - as templates to grow tissues with the ultra-fine blood vessles that before were impossible to grow artificially.

The nanotech people should take a good hard look at nature's nanotech - cells, viruses and how they work - I think that a lot of these advances are happening because engineers are finally getting the tools to work with life. It's potential benefits to mankind are absolutely amazing, and some might argue the risk is too high - maybe so - but someone, somewhere, IS going to do this stuff, because the benefits are too high not to. Chemicals and drugs that cost a fortune can be made cheaply and easily. Biological materials - like orange juice - can be mass produced in a factory, rather than pollute the earth with fertilizier and other pesticides.

Did I get something wrong here? Because the longer I think about it, the sicker I get...

Don't be ignorant and pick up some books and start reading. A lot of the panic out there is by people that don't understand the science - hell, mutations happen all the time and are part of, and required for, all life. It's just like anything else - I'm sure there were people that thought electricity was the work of the devil, and the good 'ol christian right had something to say about the printing press back in the day, too.

I think that by understanding and engineering the base principles of life, we'll be able to understand and evaluate the risks much more intelligently, for the benefit of all of man. These advances are going to happen; Find a way to deal with it. Pick up a book and learn about your good buddy, DNA, and cellular metabolism. A lot has changed since I last looked.

Re:for those of you who will not read the article: (1)

millette (56354) | more than 13 years ago | (#444897)

Their milk looks and tastes like the real thing, but once its proteins are filtered and purified...

Still, the question stands: how much can you drink??

Spidercows

Re:protein synthesis (1)

colmore (56499) | more than 13 years ago | (#444898)

I agree, from what I know of protein synthesis, it seems like they should just be able to put this "spider silk" gene into a vat of e. coli cells and produce millions of gallons an hour.
<BR><BR>
but then the goat thing made for a funnier slashdot article.

Re:Thank you, Science (3)

colmore (56499) | more than 13 years ago | (#444899)

"Thank you, Science. We'll keep the taxpayer dollars rolling in." Actually if you had read the article you'd know that the company's funding comes from their IPO, or in other words PRIVATE INVESTORS. So yes thank you, science for trying to make money, which is what most science is, a capitalist endevour. I really dislike the notion that all science is is publicly funded medical research for the "Good Of Man." Even most cancer research is done by drug companies hoping to get really really rich. And that's the way it should be. So it's silly to critisize scientists for pursueing "worthless" tasks, since they have their motivations.

Genetic engineering, the media, and 42. (5)

Minupla (62455) | more than 13 years ago | (#444901)

I find it a constant source of amazment that a group of people who think nothing of daming rivers for electricity to run their computers, (one of the more environmently friendly forms of energy creation actually).

How is tinkering with genetic codes more 'playing god' then creating new lakes where there were none before, changing ecological niches, probably causing new species to evolve, to fit the new ecological niches created.

How about the effect from electomagnetic fields? New roads through the countryside?

Face it people, we're playing God. We always have. Chaos theory argues that our existance on this planet will change things, even if we all stood perfectly still and didn't move for all our lives.

Like any technology, there will be ethical considerations, and we'll screw it up occasionaly.

Can we cause irreperable damage? Probably. Can we use the technology to save ourselves? Probably.

On the other hand, one of those cosmic rays could zap one of us just right and randomly cause any given mutation "naturally". Does that make it OK?

Let's face it, we already have plenty of technologies that let us wipe out the planet earth. Anyone who feels like it can use one of them, or the new one. What this gives us is a whole new way to solve problems.

Being an optimist, I like to assume that we will cause more good then harm from new techologies.

Unfortunatly, the media finds it easier to sell (insert medium here) using bad news. So we all hear about 'clones' being evil (most of which assume a clone will be of the memorex variety, not the identical twin reality), and nanotech will destroy the earth, and the internet will cause our children to become porn loving, rocket launcher shooting, black clothing wearing, 3l337 hax0rz.

I find it suprising that so many /.ers are biting on the same story we all rebel against when it's applied to us (internet bad, internet geeks evil) when it's applied to genetic engineering.

Nuff Said.

--
Remove the rocks to send email

I wonder... (1)

ShavenGoat (63696) | more than 13 years ago | (#444902)

I wonder what this means for my children?

Re:Silky (1)

po_boy (69692) | more than 13 years ago | (#444905)

Don't proteins get filtered out in your body anyway?

I think it gets denatured when it hits the acid and stuff in your stomach.

All your dangifiknow [dangifiknow.com] are belong to us.

Re:read more about it at (2)

po_boy (69692) | more than 13 years ago | (#444906)

that's a pretty good fist prost, man.

Also, there was a quite fitting quote at the bottom:

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev


All your dangifiknow [dangifiknow.com] are belong to us.

for those of you who will not read the article: (5)

po_boy (69692) | more than 13 years ago | (#444907)

In case you don't read the article, silk does not just come shooting out of their tits. It's like this:
Their milk looks and tastes like the real thing, but once its proteins are filtered and purified into a fine white powder, they can be spun into tough thread.


All your dangifiknow [dangifiknow.com] are belong to us.

what else can we combine? (1)

nealrs (75987) | more than 13 years ago | (#444919)

actually, this IS a good idea. However, have they tested the quality and integrity of this new goatsilk? Is it really identical? For that matter, is there some high mutation rate. This could become a big problem in the fufture, you "think" you can make goats that produce chocolate milk... what you get though, is some sort of carcinogen. you KNOW this could happen, look at JPL they screw up all the time. Imagine if some pharmaceutical company did that.... -n-rs-

Re:I feel ill (4)

totoro (81409) | more than 13 years ago | (#444923)

Actually, industrial hemp can not be used to produce the same psychoactive effects as its close relative marijuana. In fact, industrial hemp contains a relatively high level of CBD, a chemical that inhibits any effects that the plant's modicum of THC could have on a person.

Check out The Ultimate Web Resource for Hemp [industrialhemp.net] .

I do not really feel like arguing the validity of the 'stepping stone' myth regarding marijuana, but I tend to think that it is greatly overstated by its supporters.

Re:This is as sexy as goats get, but... (1)

nickgrieve (87668) | more than 13 years ago | (#444924)

The silk being just a protine, I suspect it would be easy to recycle into more silk of less quality... I think, I am not a biochem guy

Re:Frustration (1)

nickgrieve (87668) | more than 13 years ago | (#444925)

Hey dude, just hit the "Reply" button and it will create a new topic

Re:Thats sick (2)

nickgrieve (87668) | more than 13 years ago | (#444927)

What do you mean "Let nature be the way it was made" what do you think we are, we were made by nature, we are nature. You want to have every thing the way nature (in your view) intended, go live in the jungle or african plain with nothing but your naked self, and don't even think of picking up a rock to hit somthing with it. Because that would be un-natural...

Bad World (1)

Plan571 (94337) | more than 13 years ago | (#444935)

A much better commentary (IMHO) can be found in Waren Ellis's Bad World [opi8.com] .

As a side note I found this fantastic column from the recommended readings section on Parking Lot Is Full [plif.com] .

Silky (1)

Kreeblah (95092) | more than 13 years ago | (#444937)

> Their milk looks and tastes like the real thing, but once its proteins are filtered and purified into a fine white powder, they can be spun into tough thread.

I dunno about you, but I'd be a little bit wary of milk that can be spun into thread by filtering out the proteins. The very fact that they know what it tastes like seems to suggest that there are people that don't care. Don't proteins get filtered out in your body anyway? Although I suppose you'd be able to market this as an alternative to calcium . . .

Darwin knocking (1)

cybercuzco (100904) | more than 13 years ago | (#444941)

The last man on earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock at the door...

Yes, humans are going to "destroy" themselves. For the last 50k years or so, or at least since we killed off all the neanderthals, humanity has been exampt from evolution. We have been the master of our domain. However in the end, we have outsmarted ourselves. Our own greed and narcisism will become the driving force for a new evolution, brought about not by lions and tigers and bears eating us, but by genetic alteration of our own genome. Within 500 years, homo sapiens sapiens will no longer exist as a species. Some new species of humans, derived from the current one will be in control of the earth. Someday there will be that famous knock at the door, as the last man on earth sits alon in a room. It wont be aliens knocking, but our own creations. The question is, are we ready to take the next step? maybe.

ah if only (2)

cybercuzco (100904) | more than 13 years ago | (#444942)

Now if only they could produce a spider-man that could shoot webs out of his.... wrists. Has anyone else thought of this? I think it would make a great saturday morning cartoon show, or comic book. This spider-man could fight super villians like Ox-boy and Microsoft Bob. I volunteer the famous news-paper photographer peter parker to be the first test subject. Huzzah for science!

Re:I feel ill (5)

cybercuzco (100904) | more than 13 years ago | (#444944)

Its simple, dont be a hypocrite, just be for everything you mention, I know i am

Re:Wonderful News (2)

NearlyHeadless (110901) | more than 13 years ago | (#444954)

We already have a food surplus. The USA and EU feed their grain to animals instead of people, because "economics" says that your hamburger is more important than the life of someone you will never meet. Don't get me started on overfed "right to life" hypocrates.
If we didn't feed grain to animals, yes, the price would be slightly lower. What's your point?

Of course scientists have already [theatlantic.com] made huge contributions to fighting world hunger, and there's less starvation and malnutrition in the world than ever before.

Let's see, has the idea about putting caring above economics been tried before? Yes, come to think of it, in the USSR and China, among other places. The result? 100 MILLION people died.

Also, what's this bullshit about "right to life" got to do with it? The "right to life" Catholic Church is one of the biggest charity providers in the third world.

Re:Ultimate Animal (2)

(void*) (113680) | more than 13 years ago | (#444957)

And that is the day we gladly hand over the reins to such an obviously advantaged species, homo superior!

Thats sick (1)

forkspoon (116573) | more than 13 years ago | (#444958)

What the fuck? Let nature be the way it was made. We can always use nano or chemistry or physics to make fucking spider silk. We don't need to make a mutant goat. Thanks, Travis forkspoon@hotmain.com

Re:Thank you, Science (1)

forkspoon (116573) | more than 13 years ago | (#444959)

The most egregious thing science has ignored is the Los Angeles Clippers. Why do they suck so much? Thanks, Travis forkspoon@hotmail.com

This is as sexy as goats get, but... (3)

Antaeus Feldspar (118374) | more than 13 years ago | (#444960)

What are the implications of creating new transgenic species as biological manufacturing machines for products that aren't throw-away?

I freely admit I haven't thought about it that much, but silk is at the very least, *less* disposable that the products that are usually created by biologicals. Most everything else is food, so that what gets produced goes back into the ecosystem... If the average food product lasts three months before it's consumed, and these spidersilk products last for seven years, say, before wearing out... I wonder what the effect of introducing that lag time into the system will be.

Next step... (1)

Mr_Icon (124425) | more than 13 years ago | (#444964)

Goats whose milk contains spiderwebs? Who is the marketing genius who came up with this idea?

If you're really looking for a genetic research which will instantly pay off -- create a goat who pisses with beer!

Re:I wonder... (1)

jcsmith (124970) | more than 13 years ago | (#444966)

Probably that in the future we will be able to manufacture kids that make useful products instead of all those other bodily fluids they normally make.

Re:Wonderful News (3)

puetzc (131221) | more than 13 years ago | (#444969)

What we really have is a crisis of bad governments. Most of the food sent to hungry people either rots in storage and shipment, or is diverted before it ends up in the hands (or stomachs) of the people who are hungry. Aid agencies need more trucks, and better roads. Fewer cows in the EU or the US will not feed people in Africa. Better governments in the third world will.

Re:Does this mean... (2)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 13 years ago | (#444970)

Not necessarily. Some scientists have seriously considered genetically engineering animals so that the males excrete engineered proteins in their semen. It would certainly make a very interesting web shooter.

I'm dubious (3)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 13 years ago | (#444972)

One thing that I'm a bit suspicious about is this quote:

Turner got the idea while teaching at McGill University in Montreal in 1992, after learning that scientists had isolated three spider genes that code for silk proteins. "It was a purely serendipitous find. The silk gland of spiders and the milk gland of goats are almost identical. Teats equal spinnerets."

While there may be some biochemical similarities, my understanding is that part of the reason that spider silk is as strong as it is is because of the precise physical arrangement of the protein fibers relative to each other, and that the spiders' glands contain special protein machinery that guarantees correct alignment. IOW, even if you can get the protein, you still have to "spin" it in a special way to get the properties you want, and the goats aren't equipped to do that. So there's a serious question about whether or not the engineered silk will actually be useful. Don't start saving for your ultralight climbing ropes yet.

Re:I feel ill (2)

elegant7x (142766) | more than 13 years ago | (#444980)

Did I get something wrong here? Because the longer I think about it, the sicker I get...

Yes you did, Injesting RU486 is perfictly legal in the US, although Bush wants the FDA to 'reevaluate' it. Anyway, what exactly causes the huge moral sepreation between abortion and genetic enginering?

Amber Yuan 2k A.D

Everyone is overlooking the most important aspect (2)

sean23007 (143364) | more than 13 years ago | (#444981)

The US Army is majorly funding this endeavor, because many years ago they recognized the possibilities of such a new technology. They wanted it for use in super-flexible, super-light, super-strong body armor that they could also rig up with electronics so they could be fully aware of their surroundings in possible upcoming urban combat situations. They could also use the silk to make ropes that they could use to tow things around in air. They just have to think of a way to keep the plane connected to the rope.

Beyond the options the army has already come up with, this goat silk could be used as the frame for subcompact cars, which would greatly reduce the weight.

Instead of thinking of why goat silk sounds funny, why don't we all try to think of something to do with these endless possibilites. Happy hunting. !

Alternate story title... (3)

brienv (144297) | more than 13 years ago | (#444982)

Got Silk?

What They Will Be Saying In Three Months... (1)

MathJMendl (144298) | more than 13 years ago | (#444983)

"Ewww, what's that coming out of their goat?" "It's the new Intel Pentium V!"

Does this mean... (1)

Sarlok (144969) | more than 13 years ago | (#444984)

that the first Spiderman will be a woman?

Re:You mean?! (1)

vsync64 (155958) | more than 13 years ago | (#444989)

Just because I'm bored, I'll knock a few of the silly ones over...

And Cain knew his wife." That's nice, but where the hell did she come from? Gen.4:17

He had sisters, y'know.

God repents. Gen.6:6-7, Ex.32:14, 1 Chr.21:15

Well, Webster's 1st definition of "repent" is "To feel pain, sorrow, or regret, for what one has done or omitted to do.". As with many words, the meaning of "repent" has likely drifted over time (the dictionary includes an example quote from Shakespeare).

Genesis 6:6-7 perfectly fits this definition, which can be confirmed from the now archaic positioning of the word "repent" in both verses, as well as the redundant statement "and it grieved him at his heart" in the first (Hebrew writings often utilize repetition for emphasis or clarification).

The 2nd definition of "repent" is "To change the mind, or the course of conduct, on account of regret or dissatisfaction.". Interestingly, the example given is from Exodus 13:17: "Lest, peradventure, the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt.". This also fits, of course, and 1 Chronicles 21:15 is the same way.

The "sons of God" copulated with the "daughters of men," and has sons who became "the mighty men of old, men of renown." Gen.6:2-4

"There were giants in the earth in those days." Gen.6:4

Why is this absurd? Do we know every single tribe, bit of history, or variant of homo sapiens that has ever existed in history?

Noah, the just and righteous. Gen.7:1

Noah, the drunk and naked. Gen.9:20-21
Lot [the just and righteous (2 Pet.2:7-8)] offers his daughters to a crowd of angel rapers. Gen.19:8

People screw up. And?

The rest of your references seem to be things that you think are just too silly to take seriously. Well, assuming the Biblical god is in fact a supernatural deity, wouldn't it make sense that he could do Special Stuff?

--

Just what the military always wanted (2)

coupland (160334) | more than 13 years ago | (#444997)

Surely bullet-proof vests made from goat's milk will strike fear into the hearts of any enemy...

Hey Paco! Looook at the Amereecan seesies!


---

Ultimate Animal (4)

CarrotLord (161788) | more than 13 years ago | (#445001)

Surely one day, we will end up genetically engineering an animal that does everything we need. We could make it have great tasting meat, produce and collect methane to fuel our cars, make different flavoured milk out of each teat, be bisexual and able to reproduce with itself, have a switchable glow-bum for lighting, grow steel wool, and so on. We will have no need at all for bio-diversity. It will be great!

The future looks more exciting than ever!

rr

mad scientist nowhere to be found (1)

dirtmerchant (162306) | more than 13 years ago | (#445002)

In lieu of the mad scientist that should be here, allow me to say, "Mwah ha ha! They thought I was mad! But who's mad now! Mwah ha ha!

wow (1)

fjordboy (169716) | more than 13 years ago | (#445018)

first of all, I have to say that this article is very compelling and makes me really wonder what all this genetic engineering can do.

second, when will this "goat thread" be available on the market? if ever? i would love a pair of goatthread pants or something...blocks bullets and won't wear out. :)

thir of all, why does the date on the webpage read 02.19.01? is this even yet to happen? or is it a typo? or am i just delusional?

last thing...i find it immensly amusing that slashdot will actually post a story that involves goats. :) I fear the trolling that will go on tonight.

Great (1)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 13 years ago | (#445024)

Will we be able to just have a few of these repell down from the International Space Station and get a space elevator

...or will we just get a bad Saturday morning cartoon series...

Spidergoat Spidergoat
Ornery barnyard Spider goat...

Re:Wonderful News (2)

maaaaanis (180232) | more than 13 years ago | (#445033)

Do you really think that the pharmaceutical companies and the US FDA will allow this to happen? Super-humans that can live for ever, have desease preventative genes and grow their own medicine aren't really good for generating profits. As an aside: How would they stop genetic piracy? If they did produce apples that cured disease, how would they stop someone from planting the seeds or an off-cut to give to someone else? Are there licencing issues with spider-goats, do you have to register each one that's born ;-) I don't really think our problems will be resolved at all and I'd bet on the exaserbation of quite a few other problems like natural mutation of virusues to bypass the the new genetic defences and loss of genetic diversity as has happened with penecillin. And what happens when we have a planet full of super-humans the live forever? The planet over populates. So we start growing super plants that have a greater productive density than normal plants, yet the population continues to increase until we end up in the same position that we're in now except we've wiped out even more of te original ecosystem in order to feed more mouths. And would the genetics companies give ability to design children away to the poorer people of the world? Doubt it, everyone would have to pay... So we end up with an even greater divide between the haves and have nots. I doubt this technology is at all about solving problems for the greater good over the longer term, it's only about making profit for profit's sake at the expense of the ecosystem for the shorter term.

Re:Wonderful News (2)

SubtleNuance (184325) | more than 13 years ago | (#445034)

genetically modified rice has met what they're calling "consumer resistance". That means the people who need it are not buying it

That is *WRONG*! What you are refering to is 'Golden Rice' - I believe it has been mentioned here on /. - it is Vitamin A enriched rice wich would save *THOUSANDS* of people from startving every year... is not being used because of *PROFIT HUNGRY CAPATALISTS* who will not release the rice because of their profit motive and *IP CONCERNS*.

It is really just another example of profit whores fucking the rest of the planet... Read about it here [rockfound.org] (Skip down to "Dissemination: IP Constraints and Testing").

The whole project has been held up for years due to IP issues and legal problems.

I feel ill (5)

thex23 (206256) | more than 13 years ago | (#445066)

So let me get this straight:

Raising genetically altered mammals for industrial purposes is cool, but growing industrial hemp is a crime. Custom-designing living beings is all good, but ingesting RU486 in the first trimester is murder.

Did I get something wrong here? Because the longer I think about it, the sicker I get...

We thieves, we liars, we vandals, and poets. Networked agents of Cthulhu Borealis.

Re:Wonderful News (1)

odin53 (207172) | more than 13 years ago | (#445067)

This has certainly been done already. And there's huge resistance -- but not because no one can buy it. Consider all the pending and existent legislation in Europe against "frankenfood." The entire continent is afraid of the food itself, because it isn't strictly natural. Whether this is a justified concern is a different issue, but what can you do when consumers and governments are afraid?

Re:WTF!?? (1)

Siqnal 11 (210012) | more than 13 years ago | (#445070)

spider-silk: redundant

--

Re:wow (2)

Z4rd0Z (211373) | more than 13 years ago | (#445072)

second, when will this "goat thread" be available on the market? if ever? i would love a pair of goatthread pants or something...blocks bullets and won't wear out.

Ahem...I think you're in the middle of a "goat thread" right now.

Destroying ourselves... same problem, new means. (2)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 13 years ago | (#445073)

We used to think that we were going to destroy our species with nuclear bombs... maybe some still do. We ARE going to destroy ourselves, but it won't be with a big boom. In our rush to play around with what's possible, some little genetically altered critter will get out the lab and the human species as we know it will shortly thereafter cease to exist.

Maybe I'm being paranoid, and maybe I don't understand the technology enough, but I've just got to believe that screwing around with nature like this can only end up with dire consequences.

Someone please tell me I'm wrong...

-S

Re:You mean?! (2)

rabtech (223758) | more than 13 years ago | (#445078)


What exactly is that post supposed to prove? You've done nothing but quote a few poorly translated scriptures out of context.

ex: Your first example: Nowhere does it say that A&E didn't have other children, nor does it say God didn't create other humans besides A&E.

The Bible shows people truthfully -- as human beings. At times, they are awesome people who do so much good.... at other times, those same individuals commit horrid acts. That pretty much sounds like most of the individuals I encounter every day.

You either accept or reject the Bible based on faith... just as you would Islam, Judaism, Humanism, or any other belief system. Stop pretending that you have somehow made sense of it all.
-
The IHA Forums [ihateapple.com]

Also in the news... (1)

animallogic (225329) | more than 13 years ago | (#445080)

Silk took a dramatic drop. And also, spiders are no longer useful to us, so we shall kill em all!

Re:Revelations (3)

Alatar (227876) | more than 13 years ago | (#445088)

Mothballed air force base...that means it's out of business. The government got rid of the base (that means it's not government property any more). If you actually read the article, this goat thing was done *privately*, with private funds, on private time, and on private property. The U.S. Government is deserving of enough scorn without making up false rumors.

Production rate (1)

los furtive (232491) | more than 13 years ago | (#445091)


Apparantly output potential for the goats is equivalent to 1 kevlar vest a month per goat, and the vests would also be about 1/5 the weight of current kevlar vest. Having worn those rigid things for a better part of the summer teaching kids how to throw grenades and launch rockets I gotta say it's a much needed improvement.

This has been a popular subject in the Montreal area for a little while.

Hmm... (1)

gwyrdd benyw (233417) | more than 13 years ago | (#445092)

Now that's what I call spinning a yarn!

protein synthesis (1)

linuxpimp (236963) | more than 13 years ago | (#445098)

The article says that the goats don't actually weave webs (the first thing to cross my mind when I saw the article), but they produce the proteins which are filtered from the milk and are spun into silk by machine. My question is this: In a few years, why will we need the goats? Now that we can produce the proteins in quantity we should have enough to research, which should lead to a technique for artificial synthesis, right? And by artificially synthesizing the protein, we (a) should get a bigger yield (we wouldn't have to have an enormous herd of goats to meet demand), and (b) wouldn't have to worry about many of the ethical questions brought about by genetic modification. Perhaps one of you biochem people could let us know if I'm barking up the wrong tree or just ahead of my time =)

environment (1)

linuxpimp (236963) | more than 13 years ago | (#445099)

It appears we are in a conundrum. We can manufacture all manner of materials, polluting the environment with waste products. Or we can genetically modify animals to produce goods. Either way, we are doing irreparable harm to the natural world, so which choice to we make? Are we respecting the sanctity of all life more by ruining a habitat or by changing lifeforms' genetic makeups for our benefit? WWBD - What would Buddha do?

Bitchus-Aranchnus (1)

Coccyx The Clown (237937) | more than 13 years ago | (#445100)

Hopefully soon we can all enjoy spider-chicks, with web shooting titties. Wouldnt really want to suck on them though... perhaps though.

old but still good (1)

H310iSe (249662) | more than 13 years ago | (#445113)

McSweeny's did a great interview with some key people in this around August 1999. I don't mention this so much for the na-na old-news taunt but to mention McSweeney's [mcsweeneys.net] because it is the most hope-inspiring awe-tingling side-crunching source of all things good I've yet to find in any 'journal.' Here's a sample of questions the obliging scientists answered - excerpted from the full interview (it appeared in the third volume of the journal, it's not on-line) INTERVIEWER So, how long before I can get a three-pack of bulletproof underwear? (response - 3 - 5 years). INTERVIEWER So to sum up, you're taking dwarf goats from Madagascar, and inserting the gene(s) of a black widow spider into them, thus altering their DNA so that they will produce, through the natural process of lactation, spider silk in their milk...Not to be crass, but basically these are silk-squirting baby spidergoats? ... SPAGNA (scientist@Berkley in response to INTERVIEWER's question about timothy leary's spider experiments) I found a few pages once ... showing drug vs. normal webs from caffeine, LSD and adenochrome dosed spiders ... (shows a book illustrating the LSD dosed spiders made *improvements* in their web.) INTERVIEWER Wow, caffeine = bad; LSD = not so bad. Shouldn't we extrapolate this to a human scale, for instance, supplying LSD and other hallucinogens, to, say, architects and construction workers?SPAGNA ...these questions are extremely important ...there are very few social arachnologists ... INTERVIEWER Dr. Lewis, do you have any ethical concerns yourself with spidergoat research? Dr. LEWIS (U. Wyoming) ...Since my kids and I raise sheep, which started as their 4-H projects, I don't have problems with raising animals for a variety of uses... See you just don't get quality journalism like this from Forbes. *kill my sig*

Steel (1)

Luggage (250884) | more than 13 years ago | (#445114)

This could be a good thing from a structural point of view. Spider silk has a higher tensile strength than any known man-made cable, so a manufacturer could concievably replace a steel cable with a smaller load of spider silk cable. And since it would come out of goats, it wouldn't be as hard to manufacture, as all you have to do is feed the goats and occassionaly collect the threads.

Great Step Forward (1)

TheLeperKing (254825) | more than 13 years ago | (#445117)

OK while this may not be incredibly useful in of itself it does show that we now have the capability for truly miraculous things. I have no doubt that someone here will accuse me of wanting to play God or something similar but I personally feel that the benefits of genetic manipulation far exceed and potential problems. Milk that is naturally fortified with every single protein needed? Foods that produce their own pesticides that affect insects? The possibilities are truly endless. Now, all we need is some penguins switch a few things around and boom, flying penguins, oh yeah!

Yes, but what about the goats? (4)

Anoriymous Coward (257749) | more than 13 years ago | (#445119)

I was going to rant about cruelty to goats, which is a hot button issue for half the readership of slashdot, and a hobby for the other half. But then I realized that compared with dairy cattle, who have essentially the same things done to them on an industrial scale, these goats don't have it too bad.

Kewl (1)

tethal91 (263165) | more than 13 years ago | (#445124)

This is another step on the road to custome crafting organs for people or creating new, powerful medicine. Such amazing times...

In other news.... (3)

Maldivian (264175) | more than 13 years ago | (#445125)

Scientists at an undisclosed facility in New Jersey, were able to successfuly clown spiders with goat tits. These spiders could be mass produced and due to their small sized, easily shipped to people in need of milk. Also in news, salvation army has laid off 90% of their workers, in order to generate enough money to buy the patents to this process and the genes of the booby spider.

Genetic E'neering Ideas. (1)

El Camino SS (264212) | more than 13 years ago | (#445126)

I've got one. Why don't we genetically engineer human beings with a conscience? Here's another good one. Why don't we engineer empathy towards the creatures who will eventually be in constant pain from us placing strain on their bodies? Or better yet, why don't we alter the idea that we don't really need to be making goats that make us superstrong climbing lines?

I have an idea! Stop it. (2)

El Camino SS (264212) | more than 13 years ago | (#445127)

Basically, you are saying that the next best thing to do is to re-customize beings that have already been customized by the environment for millions of years. Its interesting how fast humans can throw their agenda on even the most agendaless thing like natural selection to make "appropriate changes" that they see fit, or even REPAIR the "mistakes" of nature. I agree with some of the earlier posters. Please just manufacture machines that make the products you want, and leave any creature with a nervous system alone. I don't care about disease resistant fruit. Do as you please with it, but leave anything that can have emotions far away from this.

Thank you, Science (1)

TheWhiteOtaku (266508) | more than 13 years ago | (#445129)

Thank you, Science!

We now have silk-lactating goats. We shall rejoice.

Thank you, Science, for ignoring a cure for many crippling diseases long enough to produce silk-lactating goats. Thank you, Science, for ignoring global warming, colonazation of the moon, sickle-cell anemia, heart disease, flying scooters, the Los Angeles Clippers, and nuclear proliferation long enough to create silk-lactating goats.

You may think this is sarcasm, but now that we have silk-lactating goats, we will no longer be short of silk when we need to use one of the many applications of spider silk. These include

1) Decoration for movie sets involving creepy stuff
2) The tailoring trade skill in Everquest
3) et cetera.

Thank you, Science. We'll keep the taxpayer dollars rolling in.

Re:Thank you, Science (1)

TheWhiteOtaku (266508) | more than 13 years ago | (#445130)

Perhaps if they filled the starting lineup with sil-lactating goats they'd have a tad more success.

Can they reproduce? (1)

dachshund (300733) | more than 13 years ago | (#445140)

Not the goats, I'm sure, but as more and more genetically engineered creatures (mice, rats etc.) get out of the lab, what happens to the ecosystem? I'm not terribly worried about supermice taking over the world, but... will we be seeing luminescent rodents in the sewers before 2050? Actually, on second thought this could be quite useful...

I wonder if they take any precautions to insure that genetically modified animals are unable to reproduce? Obviously they're only producing females, but can they still mate with unaltered males? Seems this would be relatively easy to deal with, but you don't hear about it.

silky goats (2)

onepoint (301486) | more than 13 years ago | (#445141)

I found the article very interesting. Now we can filter the protiens to get the proper stuff. using nano bots we can knit this.

Hmm lets get creative.
mix skunk squiting genes, octopus multi-leg genes, fly eye genes, and squid ink genes
what do you get
optical character reader and duplicator in monochrome



spambait e-mail
my web site artistcorner.tv hip-hop music news
please help me make it better

Whoopee! (1)

oooga (307220) | more than 13 years ago | (#445143)

Now my mom can not only get really pissed when she can't find a store to find goats milk and goats cheese in Florida, she can also get pissed when she can't find a store to buy replacements to her clothes made of goats milk that ripped execept that... goats silk doesn't rip... so I've sort of written myself into a corner... and I'll stop now.

Importance of military (1)

oooga (307220) | more than 13 years ago | (#445144)

As a Popular Science reader wrote in a letter responding to a article about advanced combat gear, there is going to be less and less of a point to living in the future if all anybody can think to do with new technology is kill others with it. Of course I do recognize that many if not most major technological advances to date have been made to advance a military cause, but as long as the immediate response to a new technology is to incorporate it in new pointy objects, we could be running into some serious problems in the near future.

Revelations (1)

stigmatic (310472) | more than 13 years ago | (#445148)

In a concrete bunker on a mothballed Air Force base in Plattsburgh, New York, two Nigerian dwarf goats named Mille and Muscade joyfully munch grass and slurp water. Oddly, they are protected from intruders by security guards and razor wire.

Its sad to see that no one will ever question the ethics of the US government and their genetic tests. Surely this isn't the only test they've done, as I'm sure we could all gather at this point a summation of nightmares lurking somewhere.

So what happens when something goes wrong? Who do you point the finger at the scientist or the government? Scientist only do what they're instructed when in military roles, military only follow chains of commands which are so wishy washy when the s##t hits the fan, that you can't pinpoint the finger, or you end up settling for a scapegoat.

Animals were not meant to be bastardized like this and with experiments like these remember the golden rule, what goes around comes around.

Science shouldn't tinker with these types of issues then masquerade them off as if their concerned with finding solutions for life when their solution is based on greed for money.
br.

You mean?! (1)

stigmatic (310472) | more than 13 years ago | (#445149)

God's clever, talking serpent. Gen.3:1
"And Cain knew his wife." That's nice, but where the hell did she come from? Gen.4:17
The "sons of God" copulated with the "daughters of men," and has sons who became "the mighty men of old, men of renown." Gen.6:2-4
"There were giants in the earth in those days." Gen.6:4
God repents. Gen.6:6-7, Ex.32:14, 1 Chr.21:15
Noah, the just and righteous. Gen.7:1
Noah, the drunk and naked. Gen.9:20-21
Lot [the just and righteous (2 Pet.2:7-8)] offers his daughters to a crowd of angel rapers. Gen.19:8
Jacob goes in unto Leah by mistake. Gen.29:23, 25
God teaches Moses some magic tricks. Ex.4:2-9, 7:8-11, 7:17-20
God tries to kill Moses. Ex.4:23-25
Moses has uncircumcised lips. Ex.6:12, 6:30
God's first plague on the Egyptians: Rivers turned to blood. Ex.7:17-22 (Pharaoh's magicians knew this trick, too.)
Second Plague: Frogs. (Pharaoh's magicians do likewise.) Ex.8:2-7
Third Plague: Lice. (Pharaoh's magicians couldn't do this one!) Ex.8:16-18

Ahh yes and there a lot more absuridities where your bible came from [disgraced.org]

Here we go (1)

stigmatic (310472) | more than 13 years ago | (#445150)

Before this thread gets on the wrong track, you shouldn't try to preach some biblical stuff to me as I can't point out a few thousand fallacies within the book not to mention the fact that the whole sloppy story is full of myths(e.g. revelations has some wonderous happenings some hollywood producer would make a killing doing the special effects for)

Since you mention children let me point out some biblical family values for you.

Lot [the just and righteous (2 Pet.2:7-8)] offers his daughters to a crowd of angel rapers, Gen.19:8 (what a dad and how righteous he is)

A drunken Lot impregnates his daughters. Gen.19:30-36 (oh know he didn't)

Abraham abandons his first son. Gen.21:10, 12

God tells Abraham to kill his second son for a burnt offering. Gen.22:2, 10 (wow and you still think god is some great guy?)

Jacob, with coaching from his mother, obtains Isaac's blessing by lying. God seems to have been fooled as well. Gen.27:19 (Isn't god supposed to know all?)


Why preach what you can't practice is pretty much what you've stated from what I gather so now I ask the same:

Now lets look at Genesis and see how much contradiction it states there:

Humans were created after the other animals. (1:25-27)
Humans were created before the other animals. (2:18-19)

Ok so which one was it?

The first man and woman were created simultaneously. (1:27)
The man was created first, then the animals, then the woman from the man's rib. (2:18-22)

You'd think the story would have no inconsistencies now wouldn't you

ahh... Jesus. so thats it (1)

stigmatic (310472) | more than 13 years ago | (#445151)

Jesus mistakenly tells his followers that he will return and establish his kingdom within their lifetime. Mt.16:28, 23:36, 24:34

Jesus falsely prophesies that the high priest would see his second coming. Mt.26:64, Mk.14:62.

Jesus falsely prophesies that the end of the world will come within his listeners' lifetimes. Mk.9:1, 13:30

Jesus falsely predicts that some of his listeners would live to see him return and establish the kingdom of God. Lk.9:27

Now how about YOU read the Nag Hamadi [gnosis.org] , then come back to me when you see yourself what Jesus wrote and how it differs from all you "think" you know. Its a shame Catholics burnt so many scrolls once upon a time ago what were they hiding?

Don't preach it teach it.

Re:Thank you, Science (1)

phantumstranger (310589) | more than 13 years ago | (#445156)

coulda been worse... just think, i live in chicago

Wonderful News (2)

Dr. Prakash Kothari (314326) | more than 13 years ago | (#445166)

This is precisely the kind of genetic research we need to be doing. If a goat can be engineered to spin silk, the other possibilities that this technology allows will be invaluable to humanity. Think about it for a moment: Genetic alteration would allow us to breed animals with human organs. There will never be a waiting list for an organ transplant again. Genetically altered fruits and vegetables, which are already in the works, could bring an end to hunger worldwide. Research is already underway to create fruits that can prevent diseases simply by being eaten. I applaud the brave scientists who ignored political ballyhooing and did the right thing for the benefit of humanity.

After a we have learned a bit more, we will be able to use this technology on humans to prevent disease, birth defects, and genetically modify children to fit their parent's desires. Imagine if everyone was predetermined to be born strong, attractive, intelligent, and to live for hundreds of years. All of humanity's problems are soon to be solved. I, for one, cannot wait for the day when a genetically modified, super race of humans rules the earth.

Re:I'm dubious (1)

goathappyspider (314338) | more than 13 years ago | (#445167)

is because of the precise physical arrangement of the protein fibers

Yeah, which is why their artificial silk is about half as strong as the real thing. But do you really want an orb web spider that can spin a half inch strand?

Better - a huge platform covered with little robots, each carrying ten spiders. The robots move as the spiders weave to knit a rope. Kewl.

Re:Wonderful News (5)

goathappyspider (314338) | more than 13 years ago | (#445168)

Genetically altered fruits and vegetables, which are already in the works, could bring an end to hunger worldwide

Sorry to contradict you, but this has been done already, and the genetically modified rice has met what they're calling "consumer resistance". That means the people who need it are not buying it. Because, presumably, they have no money as well as no food. Until we start caring about world hunger GE will just be used the same way every other technology is used - to insulate the already wealthy from the world around them.

<rant>We already have a food surplus. The USA and EU feed their grain to animals instead of people, because "economics" says that your hamburger is more important than the life of someone you will never meet. Don't get me started on overfed "right to life" hypocrates. </rant>

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