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Thursday, April 23, 1998 Published at 20:08 GMT 21:08 UK


Dolly gives birth

Dolly and Bonnie, who was born on Easter Monday

The world's first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep, has given birth to a lamb.

Dolly's baby was born 10 days ago but the announcement has only just been made by scientists at the institute where she was cloned.

Professor Graeme Bulfield: "We are naturally delighted" (0'22")
Scientists say the event is important because it helps to demonstrate that Dolly is a healthy and fertile sheep, able to produce healthy offspring.

Her baby lamb, called Bonnie, was the product of a normal mating with a Welsh mountain ram. The birth was said to be a normal delivery.

[ image: Dolly's pregnancy was closely monitored]
Dolly's pregnancy was closely monitored
Dolly grew from an egg cell which had its own nucleus removed and replaced with the nucleus of a body cell from a six-year old adult sheep.

Cloning is one of the most controversial areas of contemporary science. Supporters are keen to push back the boundaries as far as possible. They hope that natural chemicals produced in the milk of cloned animals will be used in the widespread treatment of diseases such as haemophilia and the lung disease emphysema.

There has been concern that cloned animals might be prematurely aged, or infertile, and this would hinder their use in producing such therapeutic proteins.

[ image: Professor Bulfield:
Professor Bulfield: "Cloned animals are capable of being fertile"
But the birth of Dolly's daughter, at the Roslin Research Institute near Edinburgh, goes a long way towards disproving such fears.

Professor Graeme Bulfield, director of the Roslin Research Institute, said the birth was a milestone for science.

"It's important from our point of view that it demonstrates that cloned animals from adult cells are capable of being fertile and will breed normally," he said.

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