| World’s first cloned mammal, Dolly. (Reuters)
London, Feb. 14 (Reuters): Dolly the sheep, the world’s first cloned mammal, died today, her creators at Scotland’s Roslin Institute said.
Veterinarians gave the world famous six-year-old sheep a lethal injection after they discovered signs of progressive lung disease.
The birth of Dolly in July 1996 made headlines around the world and sparked criticisms and fears that human cloning would not be far off.
“Dolly is dead. I can confirm that,” a spokeswoman at the institute told Reuters.
Dr Harry Griffin, the head of the institute, said lung infections were common in older sheep. “A full post-mortem is being conducted and we will report any significant findings,” he said in a statement announcing her death.
At the time of Dolly’s birth, Griffin defended the animal’s creation and said the research could help to produce new treatments for many diseases.
Late last year Clonaid, a company founded by the Raelian movement that believes mankind was created by extraterrestrials, announced the birth of the first human clone. But scientists doubt the claim, which has never been verified with independent DNA tests.
Dolly was produced by taking the nucleus out of a cell from the mammary gland of an adult animal and fusing it, using an electrical current, into another sheep egg cell from which the nucleus had been transferred. Dolly became a mother in April 1998 when she gave birth to her first lamb, a female called Bonnie.
Earlier this month, Australia’s first cloned sheep, Matilda, died despite being in apparent good health. However, any chance of getting to the root of the mysterious death was lost when its decomposing carcass was cremated.