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Dolly The Sheep Did Not Die Because She Was A Clone

24 November 2017

Cloning could be far safer than previously believed, as new analysis shows that Dolly the sheep did not age prematurely, nor did she develop arthritis.

Kevin Sinclair, together with Sandra Corr, Professor of Small Animal Orthopaedic Surgery who has since moved to Glasgow University, and David Gardner, Professor of Physiology at Nottingham's School of Veterinary Medicine and Science carried out the study into Nottingham's Dollies.

New research published in Scientific Reports now debunks these early suspicions, showing that Dolly's health complications were not the result of cloning, and that Dolly's worn out joints weren't anything out of the ordinary.

There have been claims the process led her to age prematurely and left her vulnerable to diseases linked to ageing.

Experts at the University of Glasgow and the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom said their findings dispel original concerns about the nature and extent of osteoarthritis in Dolly, the first animal to be cloned from adult cells.

However, the only formal record of OA in the original Dolly was a brief mention in a conference abstract which reported that Dolly had OA of the left knee. She noted that the lesions of osteoarthritis were divided on the skeletons of the clones as well as are usually located in the bones of normal animals of the same age. Radiography confirms that one case had mild or moderate osteoarthritis, but it was at a similar level to what a normal sheep would experience at that age.

Results showed that osteoarthritis was more severe in these older sheep compared to Dolly.

She was put down before her seventh birthday after she had developed a progressive lung disease most common in older sheep. Images of bones 8-year-old Dolly, her naturally born daughter Bonnie, and Megan Moran. Still, Sinclair said "records of Dolly's arthritis weren't preserved".

Experts at the University of Nottingham and University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom found that original concerns that cloning caused early-onset osteoarthritis (OA) in Dolly are unfounded.

Interestingly, this team of researchers were also responsible for a previous paper in which they assessed the Nottingham Dollies namely Dianna, Debbie, Denise, and Daisy, the four sheep from whose cell lines Dolly's were derived.

Dolly The Sheep Did Not Die Because She Was A Clone