Genetically modified silkworms have succeeded in making a silk fiber stronger than Kevlar in bulletproof vests.
Not only could the product save lives and have a host of industrial uses, but it could also be more environmentally friendly than existing manufacturing techniques for high-strength fabrics.
The technique relies on adding genes to the silkworm that code for the strongest silk proteins while they are still in the egg.
To test whether the modification worked, the team attached a gene that makes the worms eyes glow red under fluorescent light.
This allowed them to know whether the plan had succeeded or failed without having to wait for the worms to grow up and start spinning cocoons.
Another major obstacle was ensuring the silk worm glands spun the silk properly.
Finally, the scientists had to make sure the different silkworm gills were compatible with those of the spider silk.