Making Rubber Like Fleas and Flies

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Making rubber like fleas and flies reported in news@nature and ScienceNOW 12 October, 2005 and Nature, vol. 437, p99, 13 October, 2005. Scientists at CSIRO Livestock Industries, St Lucia, Australia, have manufactured a rubbery substance that insects use to enable them to make very rapid powerful movements, e.g. the jumping power in fleas' legs and the rapid movements of dragonfly wings in flight. It is a protein called resilin and it "out-stretches and out bounces every known human made material." Insects do not replace the resilin once it is made during pupation, so it has to last their whole lifetime. This means the resilin in an insect wing may have to bend and straighten more than 500 million times. To make resilin in the laboratory the CSIRO scientists found the gene for resilin in fruit flies and inserted a portion of the gene into E. coli bacteria. The bacteria produced a protein called pro-resilin. The scientists then used a catalyst to bond the pro-resilin proteins together to form resilin. The synthetic resilin could be used for medical implants, such as stents to hold open blocked arteries, or replacements for collapsed spinal discs. Science writer John Bohannan commented: "The living world puts human engineering to shame."

Editorial Comment: Could we have said it better than science writer John Bohannan who commented: "The living world puts human engineering to shame"?

There are some things we can add though. Downloading the DNA information for making resilin onto the already existing protein making program built into the bacteria, did take clever scientists. It will also take smart medical engineering to actually make successful use of this discovery, and when it hits you in the wallet consider this point: the amount of money you will pay for any successful medical application to repair your body, will represent the “worthship” you give to the creators of this new technique. “Worthship” is an old word we have shortened to worship, and it is due to any creator. The more impressive the creation, the more worship you and I owe. Now - anybody want to make an offer in US dollars for one little used Universe created by Jesus Christ? (Ref. biomimicry, bio-engineering, insects)

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