A well-written article on collagen, why it’s important, and how scientists have finally synthesized it in long strands is over on Biosingularity. It’s well worth a read.
The Wisconsin team discovered a way to make the long, slender collagen molecules, in essence, by having the protein assemble itself. What was required, Raines explains, was a way to give the collagen snippets that scientists could easily make a way to “self assemble” into the long, thin fibers of native collagen. The Wisconsin team was able to modify the ends of the snippets so they could fit together and stick to form long collagen fibers.