Dolly the sheep, the first cloned animal, died a long time ago, but whatever happened to her clones? Dolly was the first full-grown mammal to be cloned and the process sparked a lot of controversy back in the day. The question around cloning has always been whether the embryos produced through the process could be grown into healthy adults. Well, you might be glad to know that 4 of Dolly’s clones are alive and well.
[Image Source: Research Gate]
The four survivors were a group of 10 clones that were born in 2007, according to Science Alert. All of the clones were brought up together to monitor development and possible health problems. A study published here, has fully examined the health of the remaining clones and presents that they are all doing well. Dolly, the “parent” sheep, presented signs of early joint problems before she passed away at the young age of six. So far, only one of the cloned sheep has developed arthritis, which is posing interesting questions to how health problems develop.
“The health of cloned animals generated by somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) has been of concern since its inception; however, there are no detailed assessments of late-onset, non-communicable diseases. Here we report that SCNT has no obvious detrimental long-term health effects in a cohort of 13 cloned sheep.” ~ Nature
[Image Source: Nature]
In terms of current living, the sheep are allowed to roam as they please, constantly under the watch of their caretaker, according to Futurism. The fact that the clones have now lived much longer than the original Dolly means that cloning presents a great chance at long life and survival. Practically the same chances given to regularly born animals.