Friday, May 20, 2005

Suppose...

I actually made a gleeful squeak when I saw Regine's post on designer Elio Caccavale and bioethicist Richard Ashcroft's brilliant myBio dolls:

"A collection of educational dolls exploring the emergence of biological hybrids in biotechnologies, and our moral, social, cultural and personal responses to the strange and different in human biology and also 'transhuman' creatures."

myBio doll

That's gotta be Nexia's spider-goat! I wrote a short paper about the spider/goat/human assemblage a couple of years ago - and it continues to be my favourite example of transgenics research. I love that the mass production of spider silk is still a holy grail of materials research. I love that we want it so bad that we think "Why not use a goat to produce spider silk?" and that makes sense. I love that, because of timing and such, after medical devices, the most obvious application of this new material is "biodefense therapeutics". Of course! Nexia recently sold all its work on Protexia to PharmAthene (dig that web site!) although they still seem to be working on BioSteel, and still seem to be stuck at the how-to-spin-it-into-fibres stage. (Spiders are way better at spinning than we are.)

If anyone in London goes to the exhibition, please let me know what question(s) they ask about the doll above.

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