Creasefree cotton

Published: Wednesday 15 February 1995

-- (Credit: Arvind Yadav / CSE)Those who crave for the comfort of a cotton shirt but hate ironing out its kinkiness can now look forward to wrinkleless cotton. Agracetus Inc, a US biotech company, is about to test cotton from a plant genetically customised to produce a creasefree cotton fibre (Science, Vol 266, No 5192).

The designer cotton has "stitched" into it certain bacterial genes that tailor a cotton fibre with a polymer -- a chain of carbon molecules -- core. This polymer core gives the fibre the wrinklelessness of polyester. Scientists feel the wonder fibre could have other desirable features such as less shrinkage, greater warmth, and reduced pollution -- the fibres could require less dye than pure cotton.

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