On average, 100,000 Americans are wounded by guns each year. Scientists have developed something that could prevent gunshot injuries from happening. Bulletproof skin. What if you replaced your skin with this material?
What is bulletproof skin made out of? What do goats and spiders have to do with this? And could this be the solution to gun violence?
It’s no secret that bullets are incredibly powerful and dangerous. A bullet can move up to 2,500 feet per second. With this speed, it can make its way through walls, metal, and of course, human skin.
So if we wanted to make ourselves bulletproof, what exactly would we need to do?
Well, let’s take a look at the scientists who made the first bulletproof piece of skin. A Dutch research team created the skin using spider silk. Well, sort of.
Since spiders don’t produce a lot of silk, it’s incredibly difficult to farm it. So instead, these scientists used CRISPR technology to make goats produce spider silk. They spliced the spider silk gene with goat DNA.
And when that goat had a baby, that goat was able to produce milk containing the spider silk proteins. And with that, the researchers were able to produce enough spider silk, which they combined with human cells to create bulletproof skin.
They found that this piece of skin could stop a bullet. But only if it wasn’t traveling at full speed. It’s all thanks to the incredible strength of the spider silk. This protein is three times stronger than kevlar, and five times stronger than steel.
So although these initial bulletproof skin tests didn’t stop a bullet at normal speeds, let’s assume they’ve improved the technology, and it can stop bullets with ease. What would happen if it replaced your regular skin?
This new bulletproof skin might not feel much thicker from your regular skin. And that’s because spider silk is 1,000 times thinner than a strand of human hair. And when combined with our human cells, this new skin would feel just like your normal skin. But it would definitely act differently.
With bulletproof skin, our bodies wouldn’t be able to be penetrated by firearms. If all humans had this kind of skin, this would prevent thousands, if not millions, of
If this type of skin became a normal genetic modification, we could one day receive, it would most likely be given to the rich and powerful at first. Presidents, kings, and queens would all have this type of skin, keeping them safer from assassination attempts.
Next on the list would be military and police officers. With bulletproof skin, they’d no longer need to wear bulletproof armor or protective equipment. This would save millions of dollars, and it would make them more agile on the battlefield. Injuries and deaths for soldiers could be significantly reduced.
But that doesn’t mean bulletproof skin would be perfect. Sure, your skin would be impenetrable, but you’d still feel the impact of the bullet. Getting hit by a bullet would, at best, feel like the hardest punch you’ve ever felt. And at worst, it could easily break your bones.
So, don’t go running around thinking you’d be invincible. And with this in mind, bulletproof skin probably wouldn’t affect gun violence either. In fact, it might make it worse. Instead of shootings, there could be an increase in bomb attacks.
And who’s to say that manufacturers wouldn’t just make more powerful guns, to be more deadly? They could develop weapons powerful enough to penetrate bulletproof skin, making it completely pointless
Bulletproof skin might sound like a great idea, but it wouldn’t make much of a difference when it comes to violence. Could being a single, worldwide country help us find peace?
- “A simple guide to CRISPR, one of the biggest science stories of the decade”.Brad Plumer, Eliza Barclay, Julia Belluz, and Umair Irfan 2018. Vox.
- “The Future Of Silk”. Prasad, Aarathi. 2019. Scientific American Blog Network.
- “New technology: ‘Bulletproof’ skin”. youtube.com
- “‘Bulletproof Human Skin’ Made From Spider Silk”. 2011. Fox News.
- “Spider silk is five times stronger than steel—now, scientists know why”. Courtney Miceli, 2018. Science | AAAS.
- “Gun violence statistics”. giffords.org