Dolly the Sheep

Remember Dolly? It was startling news in 1996, a lamb cloned, not conceived in the traditional way. Dolly was cloned from a mammary gland cell taken from a six year old Finn Dorset sheep and an egg cell taken from a Scottish Blackface sheep.

Dolly was born July 5, 1996. The team from Roslin Institute, here in Roslin village, led by Professor Sir Ian Wilmut and made up of embryologists, surgeons, vets, and farm staff, knew it was a successful clone because, if the lamb was genetically related to her “mother,” she would have had a black face, which she did not. Her face was white, like a Finn Dorset.

The DNA that made Dolly came from a mammary gland, so, with the humor for which the British are famous, the lamb was named Dolly, after Dolly Parton.

The Roslin Institute was running experiments to find a better method for producing genetically modified livestock. Scientists also wanted to learn more about how cells change during development, and whether a specialized cell – skin or brain cells, for instance – could make an entirely new animal. Dolly was the 277th attempt.

Photos of Dolly during her life in Roslin are on display in Dolly’s Tea Room, Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland. (They also serve lovely treats with tea or coffee.)
Now, Dolly is immortalized in the National Museum of Scotland, which is in Edinburgh. My photo makes her appear three-legged, but she has four.

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