In 1996, the Roslin Institute in Scotland announced Dr. Wilmar and his colleagues had successfully cloned the first adult mammal- a sheep called Dolly. The announcement and ensuing media attention brought the issue of cloning into the public spotlight, sparking a myriad of views and predictions in both the scientific and nonscientific communities. Fundamental questions have consequently been raised as to future implications of this breakthrough. The most immediate concern regards animal cloning. Potential applications could revolutionize the treatment of human disease, assist biomedical research and transform agriculture. However, moral and ethical issues are also raised. While some commentators argue the applications are infinite, others believe there is a limited and narrow sphere of application for animal cloning. The relative cost of further research into these applications has also sparked further controversy. Ultimately, we must ask ourselves whether the benefits outweigh the risks and whether the ethical dilemmas can ever be satisfied. When, if ever, should humans clone other animals?.
Drug and pharmaceutical production ("pharming-) is one way in which animal cloning could be applied for human benefit. Animals can be genetically modified to produce therapeutic proteins. The first success for this process was Polly, a cloned, transgenic sheep (containing both sheep and human genes in her DNA) produced by the Roslin Institute in 1997. She is able to produce factor IX in her milk, a protein required by haemophiliacs. The protein alpha-1-atitrypsin could also be produced in animals to treat cystic fibrosis and other lung conditions. The process of genetic modification is difficult, and success rates have been low. Only one embryo in five survives when human genes are added. Of these, only one cell in 100 acquires the human gene, and the majority do not maintain it. Therefore, it would be logical to clone the animals that did take the protein into their DNA, and then let them reproduce naturally to as "founders- of a whole flock.