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New robust Dragon Silk strains developed

Four-line hybrid programme designed to deliver significant improvements in production capacity and yield.

30th January 2023

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Medical/Hygiene, Industrial

Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has delivered the first two hybrid-cross Dragon Silk strains to its third-party production partner in Vietnam. They have been developed to address the most significant immediate hurdle to large-scale production – the robustness of the company’s silkworms within the large-scale production environment.

They are the first of several planned silkworm strains in the company’s hybridization programme explicitly designed to increase robustness and cocoon size.

Best practices employed by the most advanced silkworm egg production facilities includes utilising a multi-line cross-mating protocol to generate increased robustness. First-generation cross-matings yield larger cocoons and more resilient silkworm offspring, but as these increased performance attributes only last one generation, it is vital that central silkworm egg production operations sustain each of the separate lines in order to create successive generations of hybrid crosses.

Once the new hybrids are established at the production facilities, the company will start cross-matings to produce its first two-line production hybrids. Kraig Labs believes this will strengthen its production operations, increase silkworm resiliency and significantly improve environmental tolerance.

As part of the company’s ongoing development efforts to commercialise spider silk production, it is also developing a four-line hybrid-cross programme that should further improve yields. This is under development at the company’s R&D headquarters and is planned to begin rollout in stages later this year, following the successful implementation of the two-line hybrid-cross model.

“Work with our production partner in Vietnam has accelerated the identification of challenges and opportunities in scaling up production to metric tonnage levels,” said COO Jon Rice. “We are very pleased to announce the delivery of these new hybrid lines and we are excited about our ongoing development of the four-line hybrid-cross. The implementation of the four-line hybrid programme is designed to deliver significant improvements in production capacity and yield.”

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