BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Science/Nature  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 14 February, 2003, 18:53 GMT
Goodbye Dolly
Dolly
Dolly was only six years old

Dolly the sheep, the first animal cloned from an adult cell, has died.

Scientists at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh, where she was born, say she was put down after developing a lung disease.

Under normal circumstances, sheep can live for 10 to 16 years - so at six she was relatively young.

Coming only a week after the sudden death of the first sheep cloned in Australia, it is bound to raise fresh fears about the wisdom of cloning.

In December, the company, Clonaid, claimed to have created the world's first cloned baby but has failed to provide any proof.

The claim was met with outrage as most experts believe any attempt to bring a human clone into the world would be foolhardy and dangerous, given the limited success in animals.

The man who led the team that cloned Dolly, Prof Ian Wilmut, has always spoken out against human cloning.

Media frenzy

Dolly was born in 1996 and revealed to the world in 1997, making headlines across the world.

Many believed something as complex as a sheep could never be cloned.

It took hundreds of attempts to produce Dolly and, even now, the cloning process is far from perfect.

Several domestic animals - including the cow, goat, mouse and cat - have been cloned but many die before birth or are born with severe abnormalities.

Cloned calf (BBC)
Many clones, like this calf, are born with abnormalities
This had led to concern that even clones which appear healthy may in fact have underlying genetic abnormalities.

Indeed, research suggests that Dolly may have been susceptible to premature ageing.

She was created using DNA taken from an adult cell, in this case the udder of a ewe.

The fact that Dolly's genetic material came from a six-year-old sheep meant she may have aged faster than normal.

Just over a year ago, she developed arthritis, a disease that could have been caused by the cloning process.

Until then, she had shown no signs of ill-health and had given birth to four healthy lambs.

A full post-mortem is being carried out on Dolly which should reveal more about how she died.

Scientists at the Roslin Institute say lung infections are common in older sheep, so her death may mean nothing at all.

Many scientists, however, will be hoping the results of the post-mortem shed fresh light on the safety of cloning and perhaps deter the handful of experts advocating human cloning.

See also:

04 Jan 02 | Science/Nature
06 Jul 01 | Science/Nature
27 May 99 | Science/Nature
21 Dec 97 | Science/Nature
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Science/Nature stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Science/Nature stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes