Dolly, the Cloned SheepEveryone has probably heard about Dolly the sheep on the news, a few years back. It was the first mediated example of medical engineering. The interesting topic was attacked from all sides, especially concerning the ethical aspects of it. The Catholic Church and other religions of the world had firmly debated against human cloning, looked at as a divinity defying resolution. On top of this aspect, religions think that creation of a human being should emerge only from the unity of a man and a female, and that life cannot or should not be created artificially. Also, embryo creation in the lab is treated similarly, as the Catholic Church treats them as a person. So this activity is currently on the banned list too.

Dolly, the sheep, from a scientific point of view was an outstanding victory in the scientific world. In 1996, a research team at Roslin Institute in Scotland cloned the first mammal starting with somatic cells. These cells were taken from the mammary gland of an adult sheep. This is also the funny story behind the name of Dolly. It was a link to Dolly Parton, a famous entertainer known for the size of her breasts.

The animal lived for seven years, at the Roslin Institute, where was closely monitored by the researchers in charge of the program. She had six healthy offsprings, but at the age of five started having arthritis problems, very common condition encountered with sheep. She was given drugs to control the inflammation, and the problem disappeared.

The same process of cloning, with the help of somatic cells was tried to other species, like bulls and other sheep. The process did not give very satisfactory results. However, this technique cannot be used to clone bigger mammals, specially human beings, so the issue with the Catholic Church is smoothened.