Library of spider silk could hold secrets for new materials

News

Library of spider silk could hold secrets for new materials

Cheryl Hayashi uses a microscope to work on a spider in her lab at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Hayashi has collected spider silk glands of about 50 species, just a small dent in the more than 48,000 spider species known worldwide. (AP Photo/Jeremy Rehm)
Silver garden spider spiders (Argiope argentata) sit in their webs at Cheryl Hayashi's lab at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Spider silks all start out the same: a wad of goo, akin to rubber cement or thick honey, as Hayashi describes it. Spiders make and stash it in a gland until they want to use the silk. Then, a narrow nozzle called a spigot opens. And as the goo flows out, it morphs into a solid silk strand that is weaved with other strands emerging from other spigots. (AP Photo/Jeremy Rehm)
This microscope photo provided by Cheryl Hayashi of the American Museum of Natural History in New York shows the silk glands of a silver garden spider spider (Argiope argentata). Spider silks all start out the same: a wad of goo, akin to rubber cement or thick honey, as Hayashi describes it. Spiders make and stash it in a gland until they want to use the silk. Then, a narrow nozzle called a spigot opens. And as the goo flows out, it morphs into a solid silk strand that is weaved with other strands emerging from other spigots. (Cheryl Hayashi via AP)
Cheryl Hayashi poses for a portrait in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Hayashi has collected spider silk glands of about 50 species, just a small dent in the more than 48,000 spider species known worldwide. Her lab at the museum is uncovering the genes behind each type of silk to create a sort of “silk library.” (AP Photo/Jeremy Rehm)

Library of spider silk could hold secrets for new materials

Cheryl Hayashi uses a microscope to work on a spider in her lab at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Hayashi has collected spider silk glands of about 50 species, just a small dent in the more than 48,000 spider species known worldwide. (AP Photo/Jeremy Rehm)
Silver garden spider spiders (Argiope argentata) sit in their webs at Cheryl Hayashi's lab at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Spider silks all start out the same: a wad of goo, akin to rubber cement or thick honey, as Hayashi describes it. Spiders make and stash it in a gland until they want to use the silk. Then, a narrow nozzle called a spigot opens. And as the goo flows out, it morphs into a solid silk strand that is weaved with other strands emerging from other spigots. (AP Photo/Jeremy Rehm)
This microscope photo provided by Cheryl Hayashi of the American Museum of Natural History in New York shows the silk glands of a silver garden spider spider (Argiope argentata). Spider silks all start out the same: a wad of goo, akin to rubber cement or thick honey, as Hayashi describes it. Spiders make and stash it in a gland until they want to use the silk. Then, a narrow nozzle called a spigot opens. And as the goo flows out, it morphs into a solid silk strand that is weaved with other strands emerging from other spigots. (Cheryl Hayashi via AP)
Cheryl Hayashi poses for a portrait in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Hayashi has collected spider silk glands of about 50 species, just a small dent in the more than 48,000 spider species known worldwide. Her lab at the museum is uncovering the genes behind each type of silk to create a sort of “silk library.” (AP Photo/Jeremy Rehm)