Protein Powering Insects’ Jumps Inspire Medical Application

18 Aug, 2013 | Guides & Resources
Protein Powering Insects’ Jumps Inspire Medical Application

A special rubber-like protein that enables insects to jump, flap their wings, and chirp could have wide applications in medical science, according to research published in ACS Macro Letters.

While scientists discovered resilin half a century ago, it is only in recent years that scientists have begun to look at the potential medical and scientific applications of the protein.

Resilin is found in the wing hinges of locusts and tendons of dragonflies. Scientist Kristi Kiick says that the natural protein is unmatched by even the best synthetic rubbers that are currently available. Resilin can be stretched to three times its original dimensions and still spring back to its original shape without any loss of elasticity, even when stretched and relaxed many times.

Scientists have already created resilin-based products that could be used in diagnostics, cartilage replacement, cardiovascular applications, and traditional polymer applications. Resilin products could be used in nanosprings, biosensors, and biorubbers in the future.