In July of 1996 in Scotland, a little baby sheep took it’s first breath. A cute and soft little female lamb. She was named “Dolly.” Dolly (or 6LLS to her creaters) looked like a perfect sheep. No one would have been able to tell that Dolly was actually a clone. Born in a lab from a peatry dish.
Dolly’s life began from a mammary cell of one ewe, an egg from another, and then implanted into another for growth and birthing.
Beginning in 1998, Dolly herself became a mother and produced six offspring. Including twins and triplets.
Dolly died just under 7 years old as a result of lung cancer which is common in her breed. Scientists have stated that the development of the disease is not in any way connected to the fact the she was a clone. It was just a typical genetical flaw as any sheep of her breed could have gotten.
As of 2016 there are a reported 13 cloned sheep in existence, four of which come from Dolly’s cell line.
Dolly was not in fact the first animal to be successfully cloned. Records beginning in the 1950s show tadpoles, carp, and mice as being a prelude to Dolly’s scientific conception. Some records show that cloning actually dates back to the 1880’s. Since Dolly, many animals have been successfully cloned as well including cows, goats, pigs, monkeys, a cat, and a horse. Even attempts at cloning humans and extinct animals such as the Wolly Mammoth have been researched.
All of this information makes me wonder, why our scientific community sees these experiments as valuable. Although it is a natural tendency for scientific minds to explore new territories; are these experiments beneficial or harmful? Can we potentially recreate limbs or other body parts needed for those that have lost theirs? Where are we headed as a society with this process? The questions of intrigue are endless.
Cloning undoubtedly is an incredibly interesting topic. I encourage us all to take a moment to marvel at our world’s greatest scientific accomplishments.