Mutant Neon Silkworms Make Fluorescent Fabric
Iizuka et al., Advanced Functional Materials
As many women can attest, planning your big day is usually a big deal -- there's the venue, the menu, the flowers, and, of course, the dress. We've seen our fair share of traditional white-gown rule-breakers, but thanks to Japanese scientists designer Yumi Katsura has made a dress that does its rule bending in the dark.
A new breed of genetically engineered silkworms are the lighting the way for scientists and fashion designers alike. Unlike silkworms whose diets have been altered with dye to produce threads of various color, these modified creatures are entirely transgenic, using the "borrowed" DNA sequences of such organisms as coral and jellyfish to produce skeins that glow under fluorescent light in shades of red, orange, and green.
Thus far, scientists have bred more the 20,000 of these mutant silkworms, harvesting their fluorescent threads and, after some trial and error, processing them into usable fabrics without losing their eerie glow. The silk fabric now produced from these neon silkworms can maintain their glow for more than two years and are currently usable in evening garments such as ties, suits, and for the bride that really wants to stand out, wedding gowns.
If brought to the mainstream market, these special silks will cost only slightly more than their non-glowing predecessors, making it the perfect touch for any newlyweds who'd prefer their wedding reception to resemble a rave.
Get the Arts and Theater Newsletter
Weekly information keeping you in the know when it comes to the Phoenix art and theater scene. Find out about upcoming performances, exhibitions, openings and special events.