Spider Web--The Toughest Fiber

As a kid I used to hear stories about a man who was shot at close range and was saved from injury because a silk scarf around his neck " caught" the bullet. Although the veracity of that story cannot be proven, scientists do know that the drag line of the golden orbweaving spider (Nephilia clavipes) has a strength and toughness unmatched by any synthetic fiber.

Studies of spider dragline silk show that it has more than 22,000 base pairs and is structured in a glycine rich polymer. This is arranged genetically by the spider and scientists are trying to reproduce it. All kinds of sophisticated genetic engineering techniques are being used to produce the artificial spider web, but so far nobody has been able to do it.

Some spiders produce as many as seven different kinds of silk using different genes in different glands. It will be a long time before artificial spider silk will be able to be produced to make shoes, clothes, and the hundreds of other items that need a fabric of great strength, light weight, and high durability. The design is of such complexity that man's greatest minds and machines are challenged by the task. The mind of God is complex and His designs match the needs of His creatures beautifully. We see a wonder-working hand has gone before in every area of the creation we investigate. (Source of data: Science News, March 9, 1996, pages 152-153.)

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, Nov/Dec 1996