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PostNatural Organism of the Month
BioSteel™ Goat

We're anxiously waiting for September's PostNatural Organism of the Month [rss] from Richard Pell, postzookeeper of aberrant taxonomies at the Center for PostNatural History. (Or is it an irregular series, not something done on a monthly basis?)

A former pick, and a favorite, is the BioSteel™ Goat, a breed of Angora goat whose genes have been augmented by the Nexia Corporation to produce spider silk in its milk — that is, its milk contains spider silk protein. This “silk milk” is purified, dried and then transformed into microfibers for use in making bullet-proof vests.

Silk spiders are too anti-social to farm successfully, but these genetically modified goats provide a way to manufacture the biomaterial on a commercial scale. There were 40 BioSteel™ Goats produced, according to Pell. Some were sold to the U.S. Defense Department, and these ones “are currently housed in former ammunition bunkers on the now decommissioned Plattsburgh Air Force Base in Plattsburgh, NY. The Nexia Corporation has since been liquidated and purchased by an oil and gas venture. The status of the remaining goats is unknown.”

Could they now be happily grazing on some pastoral meadow (sun-dappled but under a total genomic eclipse), mating with nearby flocks and still more further afield unbeknownst to their owners? Perhaps one should try to track them down, even procure the help of Trevor Paglen to map these biogeographical black spots.

Dark Pastures
  • Blaize
  • September 26, 2009 at 5:59:00 PM CDT
  • Spiders aren't completely impossible to farm:

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