The physical properties of slime produced by the Atlantic hagfish could help improve the design of fibers for everything from parachutes to clothing, according to a study published in November in Biomacromolecules. Researchers studied samples of the slime -- which the snaky jawless fish secretes when threatened or stressed -- and found that its proteins can create nearly 8-inch-long threads. "The tensile properties approach those of spider silk, and that's very exciting," said biologist Douglas Fudge, who helped produce the study.

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