Dolly’s sisters look exactly like her, the four being distinguished by their identification tags.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – According to researchers, Dolly’s sisters are just fine. When you first look at them, Diana, Denise, Daisy, and Debbie appear to be your average fluffy sheep. However, the four sisters share a secret, and their well-being is a matter of international concern.
Dolly, the original cloned sheep, was born on July 5th, 1996. Unfortunately, she died prematurely in 2003, taking the hopes of scientists with her. Now, her four sisters are roaming on the fields of Nottingham aging well and showing no signs of health problems.
According to Kevin Sinclair, a developmental biology professor at Nottingham University, the sheep come from the same batch of cloned cells that were used to create Dolly.
Dolly was the first mammal born from cloned adult somatic cells. Her birth stunned the scientific community that was already making plans to clone pets and even humans. However, only 6 and a half years later (approximately half of the life expectancy of an average sheep) Dolly was euthanized due to advanced arthritis.
The unexpected premature aging of the sheep made scientists reconsider the entire process.
This latest study was focused on this problem, the sample of 13 cloned animals that were observed containing the other four “Nottingham Dollies.”
The paper that was published in the Nature Communications journal shows that Dolly’s sisters are doing just fine, not showing any sign of premature aging or detrimental health issues.
The findings listed in the study are based on a wide area of investigations including musculoskeletal tests, glucose tolerance, blood pressure, and insulin sensitivity examinations. The scientists also compared MRI and X-ray scans of normal and cloned sheep.
A couple of the cloned animals seemed to have mild osteoarthritis. Only Debbie showed signs of moderate arthritis.
“Metabolically and cardiovascular-wise, they were indistinguishable from other sheep of that age. We found that the majority of sheep were really very healthy considering their age.”
Diana, Denise, Daisy, and Debbie were created through the process of somatic-cell nuclear transfer, the same one used in the case of Dolly. They are also the result of the same batch of cells. Thus the scientists are hopeful that their findings will relieve their worries about cloning.
Sinclair declared that Dolly’s sisters are indistinguishable from other normal born animals, so maybe the world is ready to accept the process.
Image source: Wikipedia