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Immunity enhanced silkworms could save millions

Kraig Labs technologies could be used to significantly reduce losses in the broader silk industry.

4th October 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Clothing/​Footwear, Sports/​Outdoor

Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is preparing to conduct challenge testing on two lines of immunity-enhanced silkworms. These silkworm lines were developed by Kraig Labs to combat one of the biggest challenges facing the global silk production industry.

It has been reported that as much as 50% of all losses in silk production result from a single widespread virus – a variant of nucleopolyhedrovirus, which is a baculovirus that selectivly and specifically targets Bombyx mori, the silkworm moth.

A 2020 paper cited that 75% of all silkworm raisers interviewed reported losses due to the disease. With no effective treatment, this virus results in countless millions of dollars of economic damage annually. Kraig Labs realised that the technologies it was developing for other applications could be used to significantly reduce these losses in the broader silk industry. The company has made rapid progress in the development of this new technology.

Specifically designed to target and combat this virus and other pathogens, new transgenics developed by Kraig Labs are now preparing to undergo challenge testing. These new disease-resistant lines of silkworms are intended for licensing into the global market for mundane silks to combat pathogenic viruses and fungi. The company expects to make these lines of resilient silkworms available for commercial licensing shortly after the conclusion of successful challenge testing.

“We are very excited to begin challenge testing for these immunity enhanced silkworm lines,” said COO Jon Rice. “Our intention is to license this technology to silk producers all over the world.

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