Dolly (5 July 1996 – 14 February 2003) was a female domestic sheep and the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell using the process of nuclear transfer.

She was cloned by Ian Wilmut, Keith Campbell and colleagues at the Roslin Insitute and the biotechnology company PPL Therapeutics near Edinburger, Scotland.

Dolly was “the world’s most famous sheep”, she lived until the age of six at which point she died from a progressive lung disease.

The cell used as the donor for the cloning of Dolly was taken from a mammary gland and the production of a healthy clone therefore proved that a cell taken from a specific part of the body could recreate a whole individual.

On Dolly’s name, Wilmut stated:

“Dolly is derived from a mammary gland cell and we couldn’t think of a more impressive pair of glands than Dolly Parton’s.”

After cloning was successfully demonstrated through the production of Dolly, many other large mammals have been cloned including horses and bulls. 

Making cloned mammals is highly inefficient (Dolly was the only lamb that survived to adulthood from 277 attempts).

Wilmut, who led the team that created Dolly, announced in 2007 that the nuclear transfer technique may never be sufficiently efficient for use in humans.

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