Ann Arbor’s Kraig Biocraft Laboratories Inc., the leading developer of spider silk-based fibers, announced Thursday that it successfully developed a new technology platform, utilizing what is known as a non-CRISPR gene editing knock-in knock-out technology.
Other than the silkworm’s remaining specifically desired native silk protein elements, the company now is able to produce nearly pure spider silk.
The new technology has a purity rate that is about 10 times greater than Dragon Silk, a fiber that the company developed with its previous tools. Dragon Silk already has demonstrated to be tougher than many fibers used in bullet proof vests, and the company expects that the increased spider silk purity, created using this new approach, will yield materials beyond those capabilities.
This new system utilizes the company’s eco-friendly and cost-effective silkworm production system, which is significantly more advanced than any of the competing methods.
The new technology, which is the result of more than 10 years of effort, hits the target of one of the company’s primary technological goals and opens the door for large scale U.S. production.
Trevor Kane, chief scientific officer of Kraig Biocraft, says the company’s knock-in knock-out technology allows Kraig Labs to work with very complex protein sequences in silkworm, which are about four times more complex than published technologies. He adds that his team already is working on producing even larger, more complex constructs, based on the Darwin’s bark spider.