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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

First cloned mammal Dolly the sheep still inspires scientists 20 years on

February 22, 2017

Dolly was the only surviving lamb from 277 cloning attempts

Dolly the sheep continues to inspire research 20 years after she was revealed to the world, scientists have said.

Treatments for degenerative conditions like Parkinson's disease are still influenced by the creation of Dolly, the world's first successfully cloned mammal.
The sheep was born at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh in July 1996 but announced to the world on February 22 1997.

Her creation has been fundamental to stem cell research and "opened up previously unimaginable possibilities" in biology and medicine, scientists said.

Professor Bruce Whitelaw, now interim director of The Roslin Institute, was working at the centre when Dolly was created and still uses lessons learned in his research.

He said: "Cloning enabled gene-targeting strategies to be used.
"We have now moved on from using cloning technology and instead use very efficient genetic engineering methods that can be directly applied to the fertilised egg.

"These are based on DNA editing technology which enable extremely precise changes of the genome of animals.
"We apply this exciting method in farm livestock and poultry, aiming to produce animals that are less susceptible to disease."

Dolly was the only surviving lamb from 277 cloning attempts and was created from an udder cell taken from a six-year-old Finn Dorset sheep.

The pioneering technique the Roslin team used involved transferring the nucleus of an adult cell into an unfertilised egg cell whose own nucleus had been removed.

An electric shock stimulated the hybrid cell to begin dividing and generate an embryo, which was then implanted into the womb of a surrogate mother.
Dolly - who suffered from arthritis and a virus-induced lung disease - died on February 14 2003.

She is thought to have aged prematurely due to being cloned from a sheep that was already six years old.

Dr Tilo Kunath, Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Edinburgh's MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, said: "Dolly really changed our view of biology, showing us that we could take adult cells and reverse them in time.

"Reprogramming cells in this way is something that I use to search for treatments for degenerative conditions like Parkinson's disease.

"Dolly's influence on scientists around the world will continue to impact on cell and tissue repair research for many years to come."

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