BIOL-900Applications
The wool-producing ‘factory’ is the 50 million or so follicles embedded in the skin of sheep. This unit covers in detail, how these follicles form, what cellular and molecular processes produce the fibre, how genetics and nutrition affect these processes, and how genetic engineering might be used to produce a better fibre. With an understanding of the biology of the skin and the fleece, the characteristics of the wool follicle and fibre can be related to production, technology and the processing of wool.
An understanding of wool biology has led to the ability to manipulate fibre growth and composition by genetic engineering and the use of pharmacological agents such as growth factors.

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BIOL-900-100Genetic Engineering
The capacity to manipulate the genome of living organisms has created the potential to produce novel wool properties such as super-strength, high elasticity and even shrinkproofing. Sheep that produce their own cysteine and therefore more wool, or that produce an insecticide on their own skin are also possibilities.
BIOL-900-100-050Development of genes for keratin transgenesis
The wool fibre is composed of two major structural protein types, the keratin intermediate filaments (KRT or K) and the keratin-associated proteins (KRTAP or KAP). The protein composition of the fibre determines the processing and wearing properties of wool. Gene expression patterns determine the protein composition. Therefore transgenic methods can be used to manipulate the genes expressed in the follicle and the subsequent protein composition and properties of the final fabric. Before a transgenic project to manipulate fibres can be undertaken many facts need to be determined, including: how K and KAP gene expression is controlled; what DNA elements are necessary to ensure follicle-specific gene expression and/or follicle compartment-specific gene expression This module describes the issues involved in generating keratin protein transgenes.
BIOL-900-100-100Production of transgenic animals
This module describes how transgenic animals are produced and some of the constraints to selecting appropriate genes.
BIOL-900-100-150Transgenic animals
This module describes what transgenic animals have been produced and what their potential uses may be.
BIOL-900-100-200Keratin transgenesis in sheep
The wool fibre is composed of two major structural protein types, the keratin intermediate filaments (KRT or K) and the keratin-associated proteins (KRTAP or KAP). The protein composition of the fibre determines the processing and wearing properties of wool. Gene expression patterns determine the protein composition. Therefore transgenic methods can be used to manipulate the genes expressed in the follicle and the subsequent protein composition and properties of the final fabric. Before a transgenic project to manipulate fibres can be undertaken many facts need to be determined, including: how K and KAP gene expression is controlled; what DNA elements are necessary to ensure follicle-specific gene expression and/or follicle compartment-specific gene expression This module describes the progress towards creating keratin transgenic sheep.
BIOL-900-100-250K2.10 transgenic sheep
This module describes the K2.10 transgenic sheep.
BIOL-900-100-300Transgenic sheep
This module describes some practical applications of transgenic technology for the wool industry.
BIOL-900-200Chemical defleecing
The research for an agent which temporarly stops wool growth thereby allowing easy wool harvesting led to the development of a growth factor (EGF) as a defleecing agent.
BIOL-900-200-100Bioclip – a wool biology success story
Many people believe that research is a waste of wool growers money. This module demonstrates how 20 years of research has led to the development of a product that has the potential to revolutionise wool harvesting – Bioclip – a wool biology success story.