College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine

Science after Dolly: gene editing and ethics | 2 February 2022

Twenty-five years ago, scientists cloned a sheep and called it Dolly. Join us to hear more about the science that followed this breakthrough and the questions it continues to raise about the ethics of genetic manipulation. 

Dolly the sheep was part of a series of experiments aimed at developing a method of producing genetically modified animals. Though cloning is rarely used for this purpose today, the idea that we can tweak animals' DNA to make them healthier and more productive remains an important research topic.

Today, Dr Christine Tait-Burkard is part of a team using gene editing techniques to produce pigs that don’t get ill when they catch a devastating virus, called PRRSV. The aim is to make life healthier for farm animals and food production safer for humans. Join us to hear more about Christine’s work and how close we really are to eating gene edited meat. Christine will be joined by Dr Sarah Chan, who will reflect on Dolly’s birth and the ethical questions behind this controversial field of science.     


Dr Christine Tait-Burkard is a research scientist who is trying to understand how viruses manipulate their host and how editing the genetic information of pigs can protect them from a virus that kills piglets.    

Dr Sarah Chan is an ethicist - this means she thinks about the ‘we can, but should we?’ questions around research every day. Stem cells, human and animal enhancement and genetic modification are just some of the areas she explores.