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Australia cloned sheep dies

Sydney, Feb. 7 (Reuters): Australia’s first cloned sheep has died despite being in apparent good health, but any chance of getting to the root of the mysterious death was lost when its decomposing carcass was cremated.

The cremation of the merino ewe “Matilda” raised eyebrows among opponents of cloning and gene technology, who lamented that there would be no further opportunity to establish what happened.

Rob Lewis, executive director of the South Australian Research and Development Institute, said today that Matilda died last Saturday and was not found until the following day.

An autopsy failed to find any reason for the ewe’s abrupt death and the carcass was cremated because it had decomposed after lying out in the open in hot summer conditions.

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