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Dolly’s death raises big questions

The Story


Today the most famous sheep in history was put down. At the age of six, Dolly was euthanized due to failing health. It's a melancholy day for the promising cloning industry. Dolly had progressive lung disease and advanced arthritis. Sheep normally live to about age 12. As we see in this clip, some scientists see Dolly's premature aging as clear evidence that the cloning process is fundamentally flawed and needs to be rethought.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Feb. 14, 2003
Guest(s): Kevin Eggan, Rod McInnes, Ian Wilmut
Host: Susan Bonner
Reporter: Maureen Taylor
Duration: 2:22

Did You know?


• In January 2002, Roslin Institute scientists noticed that Dolly was becoming lame in her left hind leg. X-rays showed she had arthritis in her hip and knee. Arthritis in sheep is common, but usually in the elbow and at a later age. A CAT scan revealed the lung disease.
• Ian Wilmut, Dolly's creator, said it was impossible to know if Dolly's condition was a result of the cloning process.

• In 2001, Roslin Institute scientists used the same nuclear transfer technology to clone a pig.
• Dolly was bred with a Welsh mountain ram named David on two occasions. In April 1998 she gave birth to a lamb named Bonnie; in 1999 she had three more lambs. They are being monitored.

• Dolly was eventually stuffed by a taxidermist. (According to the journal Nature, her skin was "pickled, tanned, washed and stretched over a fibreglass frame." She also received glass eyes and plasticine innards.)
• In April 2003 Dolly was put on display at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA. Her body was donated to the National Museums of Scotland; she is now on display at Edinburgh's Royal Museum.


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