Nature Communications has published a study recently conducted by scientists in the UK which has shared an update on Dolly the Sheep’s four clones that were made after she had been laid to rest 13 years ago. This study comes during the 20th anniversary of Dolly’s birthday which occurred July 5th, 1996.
In the study, scientists from the University of Nottingham state that the four clones made from Dolly’s DNA are aging properly and are relatively healthy other than slight arthritis which hasn’t grown any concern. This news seems to smash the long-time conspiracy that cloning sheep or other animals in the future would result in premature aging or other unhealthy occurrences. See, Dolly wasn’t exactly the healthiest clone to ever be made, as it was discovered that she aged more rapidly than normal which resulted in osteoarthritis in her knees and hips alongside an incurable lung disease which led to veterinarians having to put her to sleep at age six. This is clearly not the case as the four “offspring” the scientists cooked up in their lab have healthy blood pressure, healthy hearts, and are aging like normal.
The New York Times reports nine other cloned sheep which didn’t carry Dolly’s DNA were also studied by these same scientists and prove to be healthy as well. So as of now, it looks like advances in animal cloning are growing significantly.
Of course, with every clone comes concern as no one really knows what will happen to them when they’re born. They could suffer from birth defects, catch some type of genetic disease, or not even make it out alive. However, at least with these studies, we have more hope for the future of cloning.
All four sheep with Dolly’s DNA will be put to sleep at age 10 (in about a year or two) so scientists can conduct further research and studies on what was and what wasn’t affected by cloning and the like.