Over the past several years, one of the more highly debated and morally questioned acts in science, was the idea of cloning. The issue of cloning really came into the limelight, when it was learnt that a cloned sheep named Dolly was born around six years ago. This past week Dolly died. In an article in Saturday's New York Times written by Gina Kolata, it discusses Dolly and her impact.
Dolly, who was the first clone from a mammal, was put to death this past Friday. She was euphonized so that she shouldn't have to suffer anymore from the progressing lung infection. Dolly's illness had nothing to do with the fact that she was a clone.
Dolly was created by cloning the stored and frozen udder cells of a sheep that had been dead for years. Until Dolly, many had thought such a feat was "biologically impossible", as one scientist noted her birth "shattered theory in science".
Dolly was said to be a very outgoing and friendly sheep. She spent her entire life at the Roslin Institute, where she was born on July 5, 1996; her birth was kept secret till a paper appeared in the British journal Nature. Dolly changed cloning research overnight. This experiment made people think differently about biology, giving rise to hope and fears. While it has made people more optimistic about the future use of stem cells as replacement cells for humans, cloning has turned out to be riskier than anyone had predicted. Most attempts fail, and animals that do survive the initial process, usually end up with serious defects. While there have been some successes, there have been thousands of failures along the way.