Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Spiders on Drugs

Originally uploaded by LIFE OF REILLY.

Spray something nasty on a spider and it will spin a haywire web. That's what researchers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center have found. Citing previous studies, they propose using spiders instead of mammals as toxicity testers.

Because spider webs resemble crystal lattices, toxicologists can employ statistical crystallography to gauge a substance's toxicity. That means analyzing the number of completed cells, radii and other geometric structures in the web. The more toxic a substance, the more quantifiably deformed is the web.

Well I decided to take this research a bit further. The results are below.