Cach, there is a hole in my sweater - Moths, the scurvy that eats wool, have a new enemy -- moth resistant lanolin. Mysteriously some Shaggy Sheep in central Wales have mutated and now produce a toxic-to-moth-larvae enzyme.
The enzyme is a component of lanolin, the natural oil in wool, and survives the wool manufacturing process.
The Ceredigion Guild of Weavers, identified the first occurrences of moth resistant wool when tales of home made sweaters that lasted forever were reported while other wool items in the same closet were full of holes.
It took several years to identify the source of the moth resistant wool. It has now been narrowed down to a small population of sheep living near the famous Devil's Bridge landmark. Only a few hundred of the mutated sheep exist.
Dr. Bryn Iwan of Cardiff University, a Ceredigion native, is leading the research effort to determine the gene sequencing of the moth resistant mutation. Dr. Iwan has also taken on the task of naming all the sheep that possess the mutation. Rosie, pictured, was the first animal identified and is a now special pet and friend of Dr. Iwan.
Dafydd Terfel, a local solicitor, is heading up the marketing efforts to promote Ceredigion wool producers and garner significant legal fees to protect the farmers from the litigious army from England.
Terfel is quoted as saying " …no fee is to high to protect the long term viability and local control of the Ceredigion Area wool producers".