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Dolly the Sheep’s legacy, 25 years on

One-quarter of a century since Dolly the Sheep was born at the Roslin Institute, her scientific legacy continues to inspire developments in genome editing.

Journalists joined us for a briefing with experts from the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute, Washington State University and the animal breeding company Genus, in which they discussed how the pioneering research that led to the creation of Dolly – the first animal cloned from an adult cell – paved the way for ongoing discoveries using stem cells and gene editing.

Speakers from Roslin and Genus were able to demonstrate this with details of their latest partnership, a licence agreement to investigate the production of gene-edited pigs that are resistant to a respiratory disease.

The technically difficult research behind Dolly’s birth in 1996 has supported new understandings of stem cells – early stage cells that can develop to form various tissues. Scientists are researching how to control their development, and how mature cells may revert to behave once more as undeveloped cells.

Insights from Dolly have also enabled advances in gene modification and gene editing – making beneficial changes to the DNA of an organism, such as a plant or animal.


Speakers included:

Professor Bruce Whitelaw, Professor of Animal Biotechnology and Interim Director, the Roslin Institute

Professor Jon Oatley, Associate Dean for Research; Professor; Director, Center for Reproductive Biology, Washington State University

Dr Elena Rice, Chief Scientific Officer, Head of Research and Development, Genus plc.

Professor Joyce Tait, Founding Director of the Innogen Institute, University of Edinburgh (and member of Regulatory Horizons Council)

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