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Stronger Than Steel
ISBN: 9780547681269
Author: Heos, Bridget/ Comins, Andy (PHT)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Published: February 2013
Retail: $18.99    OUR PRICE: $2.99
     You Save 85%
Binding Type: Hardcover
Annotation: "In The Spider Silk Scientists, readers enter Randy Lewis' lab where they come face to face with golden orb weaver spiders and genetically engineered goats, whose milk contains the proteins to spin spider silk--and to weave a nearly indestructible fiber.Learn how this amazing material might someday be used to repair or replace human ligaments and bones, improve body armor, strenghten parachute rope, and even tether an airplane to an aircraft carrier! Readers explore rapid advancements in the applicationof genetic medicine and their potential to save and improve lives while considering the crucial ethical concerns of genetic research. A timely addition to the acclaimed Scientists in the Field series. "--
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Zoology
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Animals | Insects, Spiders, Etc.
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Technology | Inventions
Library of Congress Subjects:
Nephila maculata; Juvenile literature.
Spider webs; Juvenile literature.
Spider webs; Therapeutic use; Juvenile literature.
Dewey: 595.4/4
LCCN: 2012010992
Lexile Measure: 860
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Series: Scientists in the Field
Book type: Juvenile Non-Fiction
Target Grade: 4-6
Grade level: 4-6
Physical Information: 9.25" H x 11.25" L x 0.50" W
Bargain Category: Science, Middle School, High School
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall)
Dr. Randy Lewis and his team have produced "spider goats" by injecting golden orb genetic material into developing goats, who then produce milk containing the spider silk protein; in sufficient quantities this could be of immense commercial value. The positive account glosses over controversy (one small section addresses the ethics of transgenic organisms). Excellent photographs document the fascinating research. Reading list. Glos., ind.
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2013 January #3)

Move over, Spider-Man. In this addition to the Scientists in the Field series, Heos offers a window into astonishing real-life research conducted by biologist Randy Lewis, who studies the potential uses for spider silk in products like artificial tendons, spacesuits, body armor, and more. It might sound like a B movie plot, but it's pure science: Lewis and his team inject goat embryos with spider genes. As a result, some of the goat offspring become "transgenic," allowing spider silk proteins to be collected through their milk. "Randy uses old-fashioned farm sense," Heos explains. "To get good milk producers, he breeds a ‘spider goat' with a goat whose family members produce lots of milk." Lewis's team also experiments with injecting alfalfa and silkworms with arachnid genes. Abundant photographs and a lively narrative make the topic accessible and almost lighthearted, and Heos lays groundwork for readers with a basic introduction to DNA and gene theory. Ethical questions surrounding genetic engineering are briefly addressed, and the book's candid and detailed discussion provides fodder for readers who wish to engage in a broader conversation. Ages 10–14. Agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Feb.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2013 April)

Gr 5–9—This title explores the world of genetic engineering, focusing specifically on generating spider silk proteins in such quantity/quality as to warrant commercial development. Why spider silk? The title tells it succinctly. Stronger than steel, it is also flexible and stretchable, and can be spun into surgical sutures and artificial ligaments and woven into bulletproof vests and military-style body armor, among a host of other things. Heos's lively text, full of somewhat demanding concepts, takes readers into "Spider-Man" Randy Lewis's lab at the University of Wyoming, a world of transgenic alfalfa, bacterial "hosts" for spider DNA, and ultimately to a flock of transgenic goats whose milk now carries spider-silk proteins. Complex processes such as the isolation of a spider-silk gene, its introduction into a bacterium, and its subsequent removal to be injected into embryonic goats are lucidly described. As to ethical questions of "messing about" with the genetic code? Heos writes of the problems inherent if "escaping" transgenic pollen mixes into the world of nontransgenic flora. She speaks of the euthanization of transgenic goats that produce little or no spider-silk proteins in their milk, and even of non-transgenic goats to keep the herd a manageable size. And she speaks of people opposed to genetic engineering for moral and religious reasons, all the while providing scientific "best case" scenarios of its practical and beneficial applications. A complex, controversial topic, positively presented.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

[Page 178]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.