Coverart for item
The Resource Stronger than steel : spider DNA and the quest for better bulletproof vests, sutures, and parachute rope, Bridget Heos ; with photographs by Andy Comins

Stronger than steel : spider DNA and the quest for better bulletproof vests, sutures, and parachute rope, Bridget Heos ; with photographs by Andy Comins

Label
Stronger than steel : spider DNA and the quest for better bulletproof vests, sutures, and parachute rope
Title
Stronger than steel
Title remainder
spider DNA and the quest for better bulletproof vests, sutures, and parachute rope
Statement of responsibility
Bridget Heos ; with photographs by Andy Comins
Creator
Contributor
Illustrator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"In The Spider Silk Scientists, readers enter Randy Lewis' lab where they come face to face with golden orb weaver spiders and genetically engineered goats, whose milk contains the proteins to spin spider silk--and to weave a nearly indestructible fiber. Learn how this amazing material might someday be used to repair or replace human ligaments and bones, improve body armor, strenghten parachute rope, and even tether an airplane to an aircraft carrier! Readers explore rapid advancements in the application of genetic medicine and their potential to save and improve lives while considering the crucial ethical concerns of genetic research. A timely addition to the acclaimed Scientists in the Field series. "--
Member of
Writing style
Illustration
Review
  • Gr 5 – 9 — This title explores the world of genetic engineering, focusing specifically on generating spider silk proteins in such quantity/quality as to warrant commercial development. Why spider silk? The title tells it succinctly. Stronger than steel, it is also flexible and stretchable, and can be spun into surgical sutures and artificial ligaments and woven into bulletproof vests and military-style body armor, among a host of other things. Heos's lively text, full of somewhat demanding concepts, takes readers into "Spider-Man" Randy Lewis's lab at the University of Wyoming, a world of transgenic alfalfa, bacterial "hosts" for spider DNA, and ultimately to a flock of transgenic goats whose milk now carries spider-silk proteins. Complex processes such as the isolation of a spider-silk gene, its introduction into a bacterium, and its subsequent removal to be injected into embryonic goats are lucidly described. As to ethical questions of "messing about" with the genetic code? Heos writes of the problems inherent if "escaping" transgenic pollen mixes into the world of nontransgenic flora. She speaks of the euthanization of transgenic goats that produce little or no spider-silk proteins in their milk, and even of non-transgenic goats to keep the herd a manageable size. And she speaks of people opposed to genetic engineering for moral and religious reasons, all the while providing scientific "best case" scenarios of its practical and beneficial applications. A complex, controversial topic, positively presented.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY --Patricia Manning (Reviewed April 1, 2013) (School Library Journal, vol 59, issue 4, p178)
  • /* Starred Review */ Move over, Spider-Man. In this addition to the Scientists in the Field series, Heos offers a window into astonishing real-life research conducted by biologist Randy Lewis, who studies the potential uses for spider silk in products like artificial tendons, spacesuits, body armor, and more. It might sound like a B movie plot, but it’s pure science: Lewis and his team inject goat embryos with spider genes. As a result, some of the goat offspring become “transgenic,” allowing spider silk proteins to be collected through their milk. “Randy uses old-fashioned farm sense,” Heos explains. “To get good milk producers, he breeds a ‘spider goat’ with a goat whose family members produce lots of milk.” Lewis’s team also experiments with injecting alfalfa and silkworms with arachnid genes. Abundant photographs and a lively narrative make the topic accessible and almost lighthearted, and Heos lays groundwork for readers with a basic introduction to DNA and gene theory. Ethical questions surrounding genetic engineering are briefly addressed, and the book’s candid and detailed discussion provides fodder for readers who wish to engage in a broader conversation. Ages 10–14. Agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Feb.) --Staff (Reviewed January 21, 2013) (Publishers Weekly, vol 260, issue 03, p)
  • The Scientists in the Field series explores genetic engineering. Spider silk is useful in myriad ways but relatively rare in the natural world. Scientist Randy Lewis has spent his career searching for ways to produce more of this miracle fiber, using modern genetic techniques to make the genes of the golden orb weaver spider part of the heritage of goats, alfalfa and silkworms. His work is the subject of this latest series entry, which disappoints in its lack of clarity. An intriguing introduction to the spiders (illustrated with a photo of one on a child's face) is followed by a daunting explanation of DNA. Then, chapter by chapter, Heos describes the work that has produced transgenic animals and plants that will yield silk protein and even the silk itself. Final chapters describe Lewis' background, offer more detail about genetic procedures and silk production, and discuss ethical questions. Between each chapter is a substantial sidebar that usually fills the following double-page spread, confusing readers who have been led to expect something different from chapter-concluding transitional sentences. There are many characters to keep straight, and both scientists and goats are referred to by their first names. The lengthy text and difficult material will limit the audience for this, perhaps just to the science students offered directions for isolating strawberry DNA in one sidebar. (Nonfiction. 12-16) (Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2013)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10170994
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Heos, Bridget
Dewey number
595.4/4
Illustrations
illustrations
Index
no index present
Intended audience
860L
Intended audience source
Lexile
Interest level
MG
LC call number
QL458.42.T48
LC item number
H46 2013
Literary form
non fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 5
  • 9
Reading level
6.2
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorName
Comins, Andy
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Series statement
Scientists in the field series
Study program name
Accelerated Reader AR
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Nephila maculata
  • Spider webs
  • Spider webs
  • Scientists
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / Science & Nature / Biology
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / Animals / Insects, Spiders, etc.
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / Technology / Inventions
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / Health & Daily Living / Diseases, Illnesses & Injuries
Target audience
juvenile
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
spider DNA and the quest for better bulletproof vests, sutures, and parachute rope
Label
Stronger than steel : spider DNA and the quest for better bulletproof vests, sutures, and parachute rope, Bridget Heos ; with photographs by Andy Comins
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (page 78) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
904847
Dimensions
24 x 29 cm.
Extent
79 pages
Isbn
9780547681269
Lccn
2012010992
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
color illustrations
System control number
(Sirsi) i9780547681269
Label
Stronger than steel : spider DNA and the quest for better bulletproof vests, sutures, and parachute rope, Bridget Heos ; with photographs by Andy Comins
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (page 78) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
904847
Dimensions
24 x 29 cm.
Extent
79 pages
Isbn
9780547681269
Lccn
2012010992
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
color illustrations
System control number
(Sirsi) i9780547681269

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
    • Pleasant Hill BranchBorrow it
      211 E. William Cannon Blvd., Austin, TX, 78745, US
      30.1922461 -97.7771661
    • Spicewood Springs BranchBorrow it
      8637 Spicewood Springs Rd., Austin, TX, 78759, US
      30.4337083 -97.7730809
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