The twentieth anniversary of Dolly, the cloned sheep’s birth was just three weeks ago. The scientific world now has two reasons to rejoice, as four other Dolly clones have reached old age. This proves hat clones do age normally, after all. The clones are now nine years old and are healthy.
Their names are Daisy, Dianna, Debbie, and Denise, and they have just celebrated the 9th birthday, along a flock of nine other clones. These sheep were cloned by Professor Kevin Sinclair, from the School of Biosciences at the University of Nottingham.
New research published in the Nature Communications journal revealed that four other clones made from the same cell line as Dolly reached nine years in good health. That’s a lot of a sheep!
The research was called “Healthy aging of cloned sheep” and it is the comprehensive premiere look at the age-related disease of cloned offspring. It was published yesterday, July 26th, 2016. It concluded that sheep aged seven to nine years showed no harmful health effects. Seven years in sheep is the equivalent of 60 years of human life.
Dolly was the first animal in history to be cloned using a manner of transferring somatic cells, called somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). Professor Keith Campbell helped bring it all together. He died in 2012 but left a wonderful flock of clones as a legacy to the University.
Professor Sinclair, a close collaborator of Professor Campbell’s said that some major strides in technology had been made, and yet the efficiency of the SCNT technique is still low. Major improvements are expected in the future. We are supposed to understand better the biology which governs these processes of clone development in mammals. This type of techniques could have large applications in the health field, like obtaining stem cells used for therapy in humans or creating transgenic animals. These biotechnologies will continue to be used, but they need to be made safe first.
These clones will not get to die naturally, as scientists will humanely put them to sleep. This is because they want to experiment with a lot of intriguing hypotheses.
These experiments will likely bring biomedical science to new heights for years to come. Dolly may have died from arthritis, but statistically, with four “relatives” alive, cloned animals seem to age normally, after all.
Image Source –Wikipedia