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Dolly the sheep

50 projects for a better future - celebrating five decades of projects making a difference

Project 8 of 9
Dolly The Sheep

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Dolly the sheep

As the first animal to be cloned from an adult cell – previous attempts at cloning had used embryonic cells – Dolly shocked the world and opened up a whole range of exciting possibilities in medicine, including the development of personalised stem-cell treatments. The cloning process was the product of experiments led by Professor Sir Ian Wilmut at the Roslin Institute, with a team made up of scientists, embryologists, surgeons, vets and farm staff, and backed by biotech firm PPL Therapeutics. Since Dolly’s birth in 1996, pigs, deer, horses, cattle and monkeys have all been cloned using similar techniques, and – controversially – humans have had their genes edited using related CRISPR-Cas9 technology.

“Everyone, worldwide, knew that Dolly was important. And the full significance is far more profound than is generally appreciated” – Professor Sir Ian Wilmut

It took 277 attempts to create Dolly

Dolly lived to six and a half years of age

Dolly’s telomeres, which cap the ends of the chromosomes, were 20% shorter than normal