Thursday, 2 December 2010

Dolly the Sheep 'reborn' as four new clones created

The quads, nicknamed “The Dollies”, are said to be exact genetic copies of their predecessor, who was put down seven years ago.

Dolly was plagued by health problems and suffered from premature arthritis. She was put down in 2003 after contracting lung disease.

“Dolly is alive and well. Genetically these are Dolly,” Professor Keith Campbell, who keeps the Dollies as pets on land at Nottingham University, told the Daily Mail.

“They have got the life of Reilly – they potter around and get fed.

“We are not doing anything to them, they have no health concerns and they show none of the signs of developing the arthritis that Dolly had.”

The professor, who plans to publish details about the Dollies in a scientific journal, said the health of the clones was being closely watched.

He said the latest experiments were carried out to investigate whether improvements to the technique could cut the risk of problems in and out of the womb.

The arrival of Dolly was a landmark in genetic technology, demonstrating that scientists could reverse cellular time by converting an adult sheep's cell into an embryo, which was then grown into a new sheep.

Her birth prompted a fierce debate about the ethics and ramifications of cloning, with one writer claiming that Dolly "looks at you with those intense red eyes – eyes full of hate".

The ethical arguments against animal cloning were strengthened by the ill health that forced her to be put down.

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