Do you Remember Dolly ?. Not Dolly Parton

Dolly the sheep, made from breast cells, was famously named after Dolly Parton, the American singer known for her large chest as well as her voice.  Dolly was the first example of successful cloning of a mammal from an adult cell.

Life of Dolly:

Dolly the sheep

  • Dolly was born to her Scottish Blackface surrogate mother on 5th July 1996. Dolly was announced to the world on 22nd February 1997.
  • Dolly was created five months earlier, on 8th February 1996, in a small room at the Roslin Institute, outside Edinburgh, UK.
  • She was cloned by Sir Ian Wilmut, Keith Campbell and colleagues at the Roslin Institute
  • Dolly spent her life at The Roslin Institute
  • Dolly was the first successful birth after 277 cloning attempts
  • Dolly became a global scientific icon and single cell nuclear transfer technology spread around the world and was used to clone multiple farm animals
  • Dolly had a total of six lambs with a ram called David
  • In 2000 Dolly was infected by a virus called JSRV, which causes lung cancer in sheep
  • In 2001 Dolly was diagnosed with arthritis
  • Dolly continued to have a normal quality of life until February 2003
  • A CT scan showed tumors in her lungs, and the decision was made to euthanize Dolly rather than risk her suffering. Dolly was put to sleep on 14th February 2003, at the age of six.
  • Dolly the sheep is on display at the National Museum of Scotland

Creating Dolly

Wilmut and his colleagues removed the nucleus of an unfertilized egg, or oocyte, while leaving the surrounding cytoplasm intact. Then they placed the egg next to the nucleus of a quiescent donor cell and applied gentle pulses of electricity. These pulses prompted the egg to accept the new nucleus—and all the DNA it contained—as though it were its own. A week later, the embryo that had already started growing into Dolly was implanted in the uterus of a surrogate ewe.


Dolly’s clones:

Four ewes cloned by Dr Kevin Sinclair from the same tissue sample used to create Dolly

Four ewes cloned by Dr Kevin Sinclair from the same tissue sample used to create Dolly the sheep have been found to still be living healthy lives in fields outside Nottingham. The sheep – called Debbie, Denise, Diana and Daisy (in picture) -born in 2007 are exact genetic copies of Dolly, who died in 2003.

After Dolly?

  • Cumulina was the first successful mouse cloned in Hawaii in 2000. She lived until the ripe old age of two years and seven months, a victory for her researchers.
  • Cows Noto and Kaga were cloned in 1998 and duplicated several thousand times. Made in Japan, the cows paved the way for other clones engineered to produce better meat and milk.
  • Mira the goat and her sisters cloned in 1998 came from a US lab as predecessors for livestock engineered to contain pharmaceutical products beneficial for humans.
  • Millie, Alexis, Christa, Dotcom, and Carrel were cloned in 2000 by a US-based company.
  • Noah a gaur is an Asian wild ox whose numbers are dwindling. Cloned in 2001, Noah only lived for two days before dying of dysentery.
  • South Korean scientists accomplished the challenging task of cloning a dog called Snuppy in 2005
  • And many more………..

For all those who are new to Cloning:

Cloning means creating a genetic duplicate of an existing organism. In sexual reproduction, a child’s genes come from the parents’ egg and sperm. A cloned child’s genes would come from a body cell of a single individual. In cloning, the nucleus from a body cell is put into an egg from which the nucleus has been removed in a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). The resulting entity is triggered by chemicals and/or electricity to begin developing into an embryo. If that embryo were placed into a woman’s uterus and successfully brought to term, it would develop into a child that would be the genetic duplicate of the person from whom the original body cell nucleus was taken—a clone. This method is also known as Reproductive cloning.

Human cloning:

To this date, no human being has been successfully cloned but the possibility of this occurring is a frightening one not only for the general public and policy makers, but also for most of the ethical scientific field.  Scientists have succeeded in creating human clone embryos from the skin cells of both infants and full grown adults. However, none of these embryos were ever allowed to mature fully.

In February 2004, South Korean stem-cell researcher Woo Suk Hwang rose to scientific superstardom on claims that he had created stem cells from cloned human embryos.  He had surprised the world with his report of creating 11 patient-specific stem cell lines.  But his research was later revealed to be fraudulent. Disgraced scientist Woo Suk Hwang was handed a 2-year suspended prison sentence on 26 October, 2009 for embezzlement and bioethics law violations. Woo Suk Hwang continues his work by cloning hundreds of dogs, cows, pigs and other pet animals.

In 2003 Clonaid stunned the world by claiming that a woman had given birth to the first-ever cloned human being, a little girl the company is calling Eve. Clonaid claimed that they used a technique similar to that used to clone Dolly the sheep. Clonaid was a company registered in the Bahamas and was founded by the Raelian movement (they believe that human race was created by extraterrestrial race of beings called the Elohim).

Chinese scientists have created at least 30 cloned human embryos as a source of cells for medical treatments and have even gone to alter embryo to make it HIV resistant. Keeping in mind the fact that China has a very relaxed cloning laws in place, it’s possible to get the real surprise (human clone) from there.

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