Dolly's aging heirs offer good news about cloned animals
Dolly herself died young after developing osteoarthritis, infection; but her clones are healthy
The heirs of Dolly the sheep are enjoying a healthy old age, proving cloned animals can live normal lives and offering reassurance to scientists hoping to use cloned cells in medicine.
Dolly, cloning’s poster child, was born in Scotland in 1996. She died prematurely in 2003, aged six, after developing osteoarthritis and a lung infection, raising concerns that cloned animals may age more quickly than normal offspring.
Now researchers have allayed those fears by reporting that 13 cloned sheep, including four genomic copies of Dolly, are still in good shape at between seven and nine years of age, or the equivalent of 60 to 70 in human years.
“Overall, the results are suggesting that these animals are remarkably healthy,” said Kevin Sinclair of the University of
Nottingham, whose team reported their findings in the journal Nature Communications on Tuesday.