Dolly captured the imagination of the world (Picture: Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images)
Move over Shaun – Dolly is arguably the most famous sheep of all time, and even has her own blue plaque.
Dolly played a significant part in scientific discovery, when she became the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell.
Her successful genesis and birth proved that non-reproductive cells could be used to conceive an exact copy of the donor animal – opening up many new possibilities in stem cell research, which could better the lives of humans and animals alike.
She is the focus of a BBC 2 documentary, Dolly: The Sheep That Changed the World, that airs tonight at 9pm.
But when was this amazing feat accomplished, and is Dolly still around today?
When was Dolly the sheep cloned?
Dolly was born to her Scottish Blackface surrogate mother on July 5, 1996 – and was announced to the world in February the year after.
She was born to three proud mother ewes: one provided her DNA, one the egg, and one carried the embryo.
Dolly was born in 1996 (Picture: Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images)
Dolly’s white face was one of the first signs that she was a clone because if she was genetically related to her surrogate mother, she would have had a black face.
Because Dolly was taken from a mammary cell – which is the breast – Dolly was named after country singer Dolly Parton, who is known for having a rather volumptous chest.
She spent her whole life at the Roslin Institute in Scotland, breeding with David, a Welsh mountain ram, and giving birth to six lambs in total.
Apart from the occasional media appearance, led a normal life with the other sheep at the Institute.
Dolly was part of a series of experiments at The Roslin Institute that were trying to develop a better method for producing genetically modified livestock.
These experiments were carried out at The Roslin Institute by a team led by Professor Sir Ian Wilmut.
Her birth proved that specialised cells could be used to create an exact copy of the animal they came from, which changed what scientists thought was possible and opened up a lot of possibilities in biology and medicine, including the development of personalised stem cells.
However, Dolly was not the first-ever cloned mammal – or even the first-ever cloned sheep.
That title belongs to another sheep that was cloned from an embryo cell and born in 1984 in Cambridge.
But Dolly was special because she had been made from an adult cell, which no-one at the time thought was possible.
Is Dolly the sheep still alive?
Unfortunately, Dolly is no longer with us.
Dolly was sadly euthanized in 2003, after a CT scan showed tumors developing on her lungs.
The decision was made to stop her from suffering.
Dolly was put to sleep on February 14, 2003, at the age of six.
If she were still around today, Dolly would be 25-years-old.
After her death, The Roslin Institute donated Dolly’s body to the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
She is available to go and visit today.
Dolly: The Sheep That Changed the World airs tonight on BBC2 at 9pm.
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