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Penn scientists illuminate genetics underlying the mysterious powers of spider silks

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(University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine) Spider silks, ounce for ounce, can be stronger than steel, and much more tough and flexible. They tend not to provoke the human immune system and some even inhibit bacteria and fungi, making them potentially ideal for surgery and medical device applications. Exploitation of silks has been slow, due to challenges with identifying and characterizing their genes, but researchers have now made a major advance with the largest-ever study of spider silk genes.

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