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Coming soon: Bulletproof skin

india Updated: Aug 17, 2011 15:44 IST

ANI
Highlight Story

Bulletproof vests have been around for decades but skin that can stop them has only been the preserve of science fiction.

The most famous example is Superman, or the Man of Steel - bullets simply ricochet off of him.

Now, scientists have claimed to be making this science fiction into a reality with the development of bulletproof human skin made from spider silk and goat milk.

They genetically engineered goats to produce milk, which is packed with the same protein as silk spiders, which is then milked out and spun and weaved into a material that is ten times stronger than steel.

The fabric is then blended with human skin to make what the scientists hope will be tough enough to stop even a bullet.

Dutch researcher Jalila Essaidi said the ‘spidersilk’ project was called ‘2.6g 329m/s’ after the weight and the velocity of a .22 calibre long rifle bullet.

Working with the Forensic Genomics Consortium in the Netherlands, she said the goal was to replace the keratin in our skin with the spider’s silk.

The first stage involves growing a layer of real skin around a sample of the bulletproof skin, which takes about five weeks.

“Imagine a spidersilk vest, capable of catching bullets, the modern day equivalent of Genghis Khan’s arrows,” the Daily Mail quoted Essaidi as saying.

“Now, let’s take this one step further, why bother with a vest: imagine replacing keratin, the protein responsible for the toughness of the human skin, with this spidersilk protein.

“This is possible by adding the silk producing genes of a spider to the gnome of a human: creating a bulletproof human.

“Science-fiction? Maybe, but we can get a feeling of what this transhumanistic idea would be like by letting a bulletproof matrix of spidersilk merge with an in vitro human skin,” she added.