New GMO Alert: Spider Silk Proteins for Skin Care Products – September, 2021

Beauty is big biz. So it’s no surprise that GMOs are quickly making their way into personal care products. Using synthetic biology, companies can produce ingredients such as collagen and yes, even spider silk proteins! Here are two companies advancing the use of GMO-made spider silk proteins in body care products. Synthetic biology—which most often refers to the use of genetically engineered microbes—is defined as a GMO technique by our Standard.

Bolt Threads Partners with Ginkgo Bioworks to Advance Spider Silk Proteins for Skin Care Products

In August, Bolt Threads and Ginkgo Bioworks announced a partnership to advance the development and commercialization of Bolt’s b-silk™ synbio spider silk proteins. The goal of the partnership is to improve production efficiency as Bolt seeks to expand applications for its synbio spider silk proteins in personal care products. 

From hair care to skin care

B-silk™ is currently being used in the Vegamour hair care product line. In 2019, Bolt launched a subsidiary, Eighteen B, to market b-silk™ in a skin care line. Eighteen B closed the following year, and Bolt transitioned to make its b-silk™ skin care products available through its Beebe Lab. The official ingredient name for the synbio spider silk protein is sr-Wasp Spider Polypeptide-1 Oligopeptide-178, in which the “sr” stands for synthetic recombinant.

Genetically modified yeast (not spiders)

Bolt Threads was founded in 2009 with the goal of making synbio spider silk proteins from genetically modified yeast for use in textiles. In March 2017, the company launched its proprietary spider silk Microsilk™ tie, followed by a wool and Microsilk™ blend cap, which was made in conjunction with Best Made Co. In 2019, Bolt teamed up with Stella McCartney and Adidas to create the biofabric tennis dress, which featured fabric that was a blend of Microsilk™ and cellulose fiber.

Ginkgo Bioworks is dedicated to engineering cells and works in partnership with numerous companies to create biotechnology products in the food, fragrance, agriculture, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries.


The Non-GMO Project’s Standard defines all crops and products developed using biotechnology, including new gene-editing techniques, as GMOs. We share this information to further one of the Project’s primary goals of creating greater transparency in the supply chain, ensuring you have the information you need to make the best choices for you, your brand, and your family. 

Please note that the information herein is for general informational purposes only and is based on the linked sources above.