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C.The Intriguing Web that Spiders Weave

Narrator: This is Science Today. At this very moment, there's probably a spider somewhere in your home spinning its web. And according to researchers at the University of California, Riverside, some species have been using the same spider silk proteins for at least 125 million years. Dr. Cheryl Hayashi, a professor of biology, says another spider silk protein they've genetically sequenced, dates back about 250 million years.

Hayashi: That's a really long period of time. I mean, we're going back to the Mesozoic, when dinosaurs are walking around. And so this is a long time for these sequences to be conserved. And to us, that argues that these regions of the sequence are probably very important for the functioning of spider silks.

Narrator: Hayashi says there's lots of interest in creating synthetic spider silks.

Hayashi: Spider silk is very strong and very tough. It actually surpasses a lot of the common man-made materials. It's stronger than high tensile steel and has a toughness that is greater than Kevlar. So there's a lot of interest in being able to mass produce spider silk.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.