Spider Genes Reveal Flexible Design

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Science  25 Feb 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5457, pp. 1378
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5457.1378a

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The most extensive look yet at spider-silk DNA, reported on page 1477, reveals that the gene for the so-called flagelliform silk used in web spirals has some marvelous architecture of its own. Like other silk genes, the DNA that codes for flagelliform silk is a repetitive string of nucleotides. But these nucleotides are grouped in a way that may be an engine for generating diversity. Although the finding may not have an immediate impact on the way artificial silk is designed, it has excited people who think about spider evolution.