Dolly celebrated at science festival event

Dolly the sheep will be celebrated at an event at the 2016 Edinburgh International Science Festival as experts share their memories of her life and legacy.

Almost twenty years after her birth, Professor Sir Ian Wilmut - who led the research project that created Dolly - will share his reflections on how one sheep helped to turn scientific thinking on its head.


He will be joined by experts to discuss how Dolly still influences cutting-edge scientific research in Edinburgh and beyond.

The event - co-organised by the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute - will explore the impact the research had on society at the time and how it continues to provoke ethical debate today.

Cultural context

Also on the panel will be Andrew Kitchener, Principal Curator of Vertebrate Biology at National Museums Scotland, where Dolly will resume centre stage from 8 July as part of ten new galleries of science, technology, art and design.

University of Edinburgh archivist Clare Button will discuss the wider context surrounding Dolly’s birth and how such a game-changing feat in science occurred on a small farm on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

World first

Dolly was the first animal to be cloned from an adult cell. Her birth proved that it is possible to take cells from anywhere in the body and make them behave like a newly fertilised egg.

Stem cells

Professor Wilmut will highlight how the Dolly project paved the way for other scientists to develop the means of making stem cells from adult cells.

This breakthrough has transformed our ability to investigate fundamental human and animal biology and has opened up the possibility that stem cells could one day be used as therapies for a wide-range of diseases.


Also taking part, Professor Bruce Whitelaw of The Roslin Institute will discuss how their agricultural research has moved away from cloning technologies to embrace new ways of producing genetically modified animals.

He will discuss his research using gene-editing techniques to alter the genetic code of pigs in the hope that it will make them more resistant to deadly diseases.

Anniversary events

The event - which takes place at the National Museum of Scotland on Wednesday 30 March - is the first in a series of celebrations to mark the life and legacy of Dolly the sheep on the twentieth anniversary of her birth.

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