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Monday, February 23, 1998 Published at 18:37 GMT


Dolly's creators clone a calf
image: [ Dolly the cloned sheep has helped to create Mr Jefferson, the cloned calf ]
Dolly the cloned sheep has helped to create Mr Jefferson, the cloned calf

The British company that helped to create Dolly, the cloned sheep, has now used the same method to create a calf.

PPL Therapeutics said the healthy 98lb animal, called Mr Jefferson, was produced by its American subsidiary in Blacksburg, Virginia, and delivered at Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.

PPL has established itself as a world leader in the "transgenic" production of human proteins in the milk of livestock.

While Mr Jefferson is not transgenic, the company said the animal's birth opened the way to producing transgenic cows, whose milk could eventually be used to treat diseases in humans.

One of PPL's products, used to treat cystic fibrosis, is already undergoing clinical trials.

The chief operating officer at PPL, Dr Julian Cooper, said: "This is an incredibly important development.

"The technique used was similar to that used to produce Dolly and the world's first cloned transgenic lamb, Polly.

"While the calf is not transgenic, we have shown we can do the difficult part, and this success now opens the way to producing transgenic cows using nuclear transfer, Polly having proved the principle."

Foetus cell

Mr Jefferson was named in honour of his birth on February 16 - President's Day in the United States.

The animal was produced using technology based on that used to clone Dolly and Polly, but whereas Dolly was cloned from an adult cell, the calf was cloned from the cell off a foetus.

In response to media speculation over the origins of Dolly the sheep and claims that it might not be a genuine clone, the company said: "PPL is confident that Dolly was produced from an adult mammary cell."

The managing director of PPL, Dr Ron James, said: "It would be a shame if the birth of Mr Jefferson, which is an important step forward for PPL, were to become overshadowed by the current controversy over Dolly's origin.

"We have demonstrated we can do this with the birth of Polly, and Mr Jefferson shows we have the capability to extend the technique to cattle."

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  Internet Links

Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

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