Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dolly the Sheep- Katie Dedousis

I. Introduction

Before the mid-ninety’s, animal cloning was a far-fetched idea. But on July 5, 1996 the first ever cloned farm animal was born named Dolly the Sheep. Dolly is a clone, “an exact replica of her donor.” Meaning that she has the same genetic structure and appearance as the sheep that donated their egg. This was a major breakthrough for the science field, because now they possibly had new ways help the agriculture business. Although this was a very important discovery for scientist, there were many skeptics out there who didn’t agree with what was happening.

II. Discovery

Dolly was created by an English scientist named Ian Wilmut. The process first began with Wilmut and his team taking a cell from a six-year-old sheep, which was in it’s final stage of pregnancy. The scientists then fused together the cell and an oocyte, a female cell used in reproduction, that was ready to be fertilized. They removed the nucleus from the oocyte, and used a mild current of electricity to replace it with the nucleus from the donor cell. This fusion formed into an embryo, which was an exact genetic replica of the donor. This embryo was then place into a surrogate mother, who eventually gave birth to Dolly. Dolly was created so scientist could see if they could produce livestock that only had certain traits. For example, they would try cloning goats to see if they could get certain proteins in their milk. Dolly was so special because she defies the theory that adult cells are not able to be cloned. Dolly’s cell donor was already six-years-old, very old for this kind of experiment.

III. Biography of Investigator

Ian Wilmut, an English born scientist, is responsible for the creation of Dolly. His interest in the outdoors as a child led him to major in agriculture studies at the University of Nottingham. After college he began working on genetic research. In 1973, he was part of the production of the first cloned calf, made from a frozen embryo. In 1986, a low-key conversation about sheep cloning led to the idea of cloning a sheep from an adult donor. Since another science company posted a fake report about their success in animal cloning, the science funds ran out. So Wilmut and his colleague had to do this experiment on their own. Dolly the Sheep, a clone made from an adult donor, was born on July 5, 1996. But Wilmut waited until February 1997. She attracted so much attention because of her incredible story. This also focused a lot of attention on Wilmut, which he hadn’t really received before. Creating Dolly was the biggest accomplishment of Ian Wilmut’s life.

IV. Impact on the World

The creation of Dolly the Sheep had a major impact on the entire world. Scientists looked at this as a huge improvement and a jumpstart for all the other cloning possibilities out there. But at the same time, a lot of people were scared that this would lead to things like human cloning. Since Dolly, scientists have cloned cows, goats, pigs, rats, mice, rabbits, cats, dogs and horses. In some cases they are cloning farm animals to produce milk with certain proteins in it. Scientists hope to one day clone a human, but many people do not want that to happen. Right-to-life advocates look at the idea of human cloning as killing. They think that since the scientist have to destroy embryos that could potentially be a healthy baby. But through all of this skepticism, scientists continue to clone farm animals.

V. Journal Review

My journal article was written by Jesper Lassen, Micket Gjerris and Peter Sandoe. They took a neutral attitude towards the skeptics and the scientists. He described how Dolly was created and the reasons why her creation was so special. They discussed her impact on the world and both sides of the ethical point.

VI. References

  • "Research in the News: Creating a Cloned Sheep Called Dolly." National Offices of Science Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. .(tags: none | edit tags)
  • Ian Wilmut Biography -- Academy of Achievement. (n.d.). Academy of Achievement Main Menu. Retrieved October 6, 2010, from
  • Dolly (sheep) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved October 6, 2010, from

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