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This is the kind of scientific story that's a little "ooh" with some "ew!" mixed in, too: Scientists at Utah State University have cleverly combined goat and spider genes to make a normal-looking strain of goat that happens to be able to produce extra protein in its milk that can be made into spider silk.

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Imitating nature's innovations is not a new strategy, but the exact nature of MacArthur "genius grant" recipient Cheryl Hayashi's research is both startling and -- aside from the predictable, and potentially creepy, military use angle -- pretty fascinating. The UC Riverside biology professor has been looking into ways to replicate spider silk and develop some unusual uses for the stuff.

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