Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Science of Science Fiction: Bulletproof Skin

I don't normally blog on Saturdays, but this article was so interesting I couldn't wait to post it. It's about a project the Dutch are working on to create human--well, human/spider hybrid--bulletproof skin. The idea is to replace one of the proteins in human skin with one from spider silk. The spider silk protein is ten times stronger than steel.

I'm not sure how feasible this would turn out to be, but the implications make for interesting fiction. Would you have to start this process before birth, or would there be a way to incorporate the spider protein into an adult human? Which people would be chosen for this project? (As a starter, I'd say celebrities and politicians, though police would also benefit--and maybe criminals would try to have this done too.) Would these people ever suffer minor cuts or bruises? I assume not. This sounds great, but what if they needed surgery? What if the spider protein had other side effects? Would the change be noticeable, and if so, how would this bioengineered person fare socially? Would they be considered less than human? The ideas spin like a spider making a web...

4 comments:

Michael Offutt said...

That sounds kinda scary. Genetic engineering is so powerful that it would be easy to make a mistake and really screw things up.

Babydoll said...

LOL! "Spiderman, Spiderman..."

Carol Riggs said...

Wow, that's fascinating but creepy scary. Not sure why they are doing that; who would sign up to be the guinea pig? Not me!

The Golden Eagle said...

Interesting point about surgery--I would imagine that bulletproof material would be hard to operate on. I would also think it'd make it hard for the skin to heal.

Site Meter